One of Europe’s fastest-growing fintech companies, Soldo, has launched a new ‘care card’ scheme in Italy to help the growing number of people facing poverty due to COVID-19.
The card called Soldo Care, is a smart payment card that can be used at any store that accepts Mastercard payments.
Italy has been at the epicentre of Europe’s coronavirus pandemic, where the virus has claimed upwards of 24,000 lives. In fact, it was only today that the country reported the first actual fall in active virus cases. The Italian authorities have called the figures “extremely encouraging”, however, there is no denying the long-term damage this outbreak will have on the economy.
The Municipality of Milan will use Soldo Care cards to help distribute its portion of the Italian Government’s €400m solidarity fund (a scheme that has been launched to support people affected by the crisis).
Carlo Gualandri, CEO at Soldo says;
“Italy was the first European country to enter a state of emergency, and with offices in Milan, we at Soldo experienced the societal impact first-hand. Traditional food stamps and regular prepaid cards are often too slow and cumbersome to be effective during a crisis such as this. Soldo’s infrastructure is agile enough to be rapidly adapted to the needs of local authorities. As the pandemic continues to unfold and hits other nations hard, we want to use our technology in every way possible to support authorities to assist those most in need.”
Soldo’s launch has already seen success, with 21 Italian authorities having signed up to use the cards to help distribute emergency aid in their regions, with over 20,000 families to receive assistance from Soldo Care so far.
While this offers a glimmer of hope for families in deep financial difficulty, questions surrounding how the Italian economy (one which relies strongly on its tourist industry) will survive the crisis.
It has been suggested that laws surrounding lockdown (that have been imposed since March 10, 2020) could be lifted by early as May, this may come from a sense of urgency to re-boot the economy, as opposed to the Italian Government’s confidence that there will be no new infections.
With the news that the UK government has unleashed a new billion pound fund for startups, we may see British equivalents of Soldo start to develop products to help sufferers from COVID-19 too.
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