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Debate about payment cards continues in Saxony

A refugee holds a debit card in his hand / Photo: Philipp von Ditfurth/dpa/Archivbild
A refugee holds a debit card in his hand / Photo: Philipp von Ditfurth/dpa/Archivbild

Views on payment cards for asylum seekers differ within the traffic light coalition. And this is also a contentious issue in Saxony. According to the Greens, there is no reason for a row.

The debate about the payment card for refugees is also continuing in Saxony. On Wednesday, Green parliamentary group leader Franziska Schubert rejected accusations that her party was torpedoing the introduction of the card. The CDU parliamentary group in the Saxon state parliament had made such comments at the weekend. Schubert spoke of a false report. "Our legal opinion is that of November: there is no need for a comprehensive legal amendment. If it is a matter of including the word 'payment card', then that is a technical adjustment that is easy to make." The focus should then be on this.

Schubert made it clear that the introduction of a payment card is already possible and referred to examples. The card already exists in Hanover, the Thuringian districts of Greiz and Eichsfeld and in the Ortenau district in Baden-Württemberg. It will soon be introduced in Hamburg and Bavaria. "So far, there are no indications of illegality."

"As Alliance Greens, we support the payment card within the Saxon coalition and also at federal level. All federal states will introduce a payment card. All of the federal states that are co-governed by the Greens are also participating in a joint invitation to tender in order to have a jointly tendered payment card between the federal states in the summer. The question of whether is decided at this point and not the point," emphasized Schubert.

Diaconia also had its say. "The payment card for benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act must be practicable and must not block access to social offers and services such as food banks or social department stores for those affected," appealed Diakonie boss Dietrich Bauer to cities and municipalities. There should be no regional restrictions; the card should be able to be used wherever EC cards are available. "Cash withdrawals should also be possible in supermarkets."

Bauer warns against a patchwork of different solutions. Otherwise, local authorities would face additional costs. "As a digital payment facilitator, the payment card should reduce the administrative burden and eliminate cash payments for all those who are not yet able to open a basic account." This could prevent queues in initial reception facilities and long journeys for those affected to make cash payments to the authorities, especially in rural areas.

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