Direct payments – prepaid cards

From 1st April 2021 NHS Leeds CCG will be using prepaid cards as its preferred method of enabling Direct Payments via a Personal Health Budget.

What are prepaid cards?

Prepaid cards work in a similar way to normal credit and debit cards except that funds are preloaded onto the cards by the CCG and then spent by the card holder. They do not incorporate a credit facility the cards cannot become overdrawn and are not linked to a standard bank account. Funds can be loaded onto the cards by CCG or by the Direct Payment holder at any time; this is especially useful in an emergency when a Direct Payment holder may need additional care.

As all transactions are recorded automatically it is possible to track when uploads and subsequent spend take place and monitor how the funds are spent. This can dramatically improve financial security and reduce the number of audits required.

Lost or damaged cards can be replaced quickly during office hours and the cards can configured to provide similar facilities to traditional bank accounts. Regular payments can then be set up to be made via direct debits and standing orders to ensure that regular suppliers get paid on time.

Telephone banking and online banking is also available.

Why are the CCG moving to prepaid cards?

All financial transactions have a cost attached to them and these costs are currently absorbed by the CCG.

The current method of delivering direct payments within the organisation is very heavily dependent on manually inputting information in to systems on a monthly basis. Additionally, auditing of physical receipts and bank statements and the manual transfer of money from accounts to and from the CCG are all very time consuming and at risk of error, it is also difficult to make emergency payments. The Prepaid Card solution has been evidenced as more efficient in over 100 local authorities and CCG’s, the main benefits for the tax payer being:

  • Lower cost of operation:
  • Replaces cash handling
  • Better monitoring
  • More effective use of staff time
  • Can be used online
  • Supports the personalisation / commissioning agenda
  • Spend can be directed to better outcomes
  • Savings can be reinvested in services
  • Better / quicker DP holder service
  • No major investment in IT systems

Are they safe?

Yes, they are as safe as a standard bank account, transactions can be checked and if necessary the account can be frozen if there is suspicious activity.

The card provider is fully compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

I currently receive my Direct Payment via a different method, do I have to change?

Currently no you do not have to change from your current method of receiving your Direct Payment. However, we people to change to the new service as it is more efficient but we will be retaining current payment methods. However all new Direct Payments will be through the prepaid card system.

More information can be found here: