A local council has adopted a novel form of prepaid credit card in a bid to help older and vulnerable residents.
Cheshire East Council has established the "Empower Card" for people who use its social care services – which claims to be the first of its kind in the UK.
Instead of having benefits paid into a bank account, service users can now have their cash put on to a prepaid credit card from Visa.
There are 1,200 people managing their own personal care budgets in the Cheshire East area, and it is hoped that the prepaid credit card model provided by the Empower Card will help them to remain independent and in control of their own care needs.
The council's move is just more evidence of the growing popularity of the prepaid credit card model in the UK. Since such cards first became available in 2005, they have seen ever-greater take-up, reaching unprecedented rates in the last year.