Asylum seekers in France have complained that new bank cards issued to them by the French government do not allow them to withdraw cash.
The new bank card, known as the ADA card in France, was released on the 5th of November and allows migrants to make purchases with allowances ranging from 190 euros a month for single persons up to 660 euros per month for a family of six, Infomigrants reports.
The card does not, however, allow the migrants to take out cash, leading to some complaining that it makes their lives harder as shops have minimum purchase requirements.
“I can not buy a baguette for one euro because the minimum card payment is often five euros,” said Bilal, a 25-year-olf Afghan asylum seeker living in Rennes.
Mulham, a 27-year-old Syrian living in Paris, added: “I sometimes find myself buying things that I do not really want, just to reach the minimum payment by credit card.”
Malian migrant Dalaise also claimed that he was able to buy food cheaper at local markets in cash and would now be forced to use supermarkets where “money goes fast”.
France Faces All-Time Record of Nearly 140,000 Asylum Applications in 2019 https://t.co/jKAJisDNdp
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Following the criticism, the French Office of Immigration and Integration (Ofii) announced that they would be working with supermarkets to provide cashback services in the future. The agency also defended the cards saying it made it harder for others to rob asylum seekers of their money.
Debit cards for asylum seekers are nothing new with the European Union offering a million debit cards to asylum seekers in Turkey in 2016, although the Kizilay card (Turkish for “Red Crescent”), did allow for cash withdrawals.
Earlier this year, a suspected Islamic State terrorist was found to be in possession of one of the EU debit cards after being detained in Hungary, leading to criticism from Hungary’s Secretary of State for International Communications international spokesman for the Cabinet Office of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Dr Zoltán Kovács.