When a natural disaster impacts military families, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society comes to their aid. In the past, checks were the only way to distribute emergency funds to help affected families buy food, pay for alternate lodging or take care of other necessities. One of the lessons of Hurricane Katrina was that the burden of finding a place to cash a check and having to wait for funds to clear was an added stress for people already suffering. The Society wanted to find a solution that eliminated this undue burden. Working with Navy Federal Credit Union, the Relief Society found an easy to use answer with a Visa prepaid card program developed with Visa DPS prepaid processing.
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society has regional branches across the country where they now maintain a supply of Visa prepaid cards pre-loaded with different denominations. When a natural disaster strikes, the preloaded cards can be bulk-activated via a phone call to Visa DPS and immediately provided to help the affected families.
Prepaid cards offered the Relief Society the flexibility to set up a program specifically designed for their unique situation. The Relief Society's cards are actually interest-free 30-day loans. The cards also only have a 30-day lifetime to ensure cardholders limit their spending to immediate needs. Any money left unspent after the card expires is automatically returned to the Relief Society. Once the card expires or the funds are used, the card is automatically closed so the Relief Society can avoid any additional administration while it focuses on helping those in need.
Visa DPS prepaid processing worked closely with Navy Federal to ensure that every detail of the program was in place before it was needed. When a disaster strikes, Navy Federal and the Relief Society want to be sure that the cards are immediately available to serve anyone affected. Today, cards can be delivered to a disaster site in a matter of hours.
When severe storms caused the Mississippi River to flood in Tennessee in May 2010, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Visa prepaid card was an incredible relief for hundreds of sailors and their families evacuated from the Millington, Tennessee Navy base. Through its partnership with Visa DPS prepaid processing and Navy Federal Credit Union, the Relief Society was able to provide hundreds of military families instant access to funds with minimum paperwork.