NYC begins handing out prepaid debit cards to migrants in controversial program

This week, the Adams administration began its program of giving prepaid debit cards for New York City migrants — two months after signing a $53 million controversial contract without a competitive bid.

A spokesperson for City Hall said that staffers from the New Jersey-based company Mobility Capital Finance handed out eight Mastercards preloaded at the Roosevelt Hotel Monday, as part of a pilot program. The program will be expanded to 115 cards next week.

The Post revealed that the contract had been signed without going through a normal bidding process.

According to the contract, the program could prove to be a boon to the start-up tech company, as it would allow them to earn $1.8 million if they took a percentage of each Mastercard’s funds.


The original plan was scaled down, as it would have provided a full month’s supply of food and baby products. Cash will need to be replenished every week.

The spokesperson stated that a family of two parents with children under five years old will receive approximately $350 per week.

The Post has not been able to locate any of the migrants who received cards on Monday. The Roosevelt Hotel staff said that they were unaware of the cards being handed out.

As City Hall evaluates the program’s success, the pilot program will cover 460 of the 64 500 migrants under the care of the city.

Kayla Mamalek, Adams spokesperson, said that the new system will save money by replacing the current one of providing food boxes with non-perishable items to migrant family members staying in hotels. Many of these are often thrown away.

City Hall claims that the new system of feeding asylum seekers could save as much as $600,000.00 per month.

The Adams administration said that an emergency contract was needed to avoid delays with the roll-out of the cost-savings program.

It took another two months for the cards to be distributed.

City Hall dodged all questions regarding the delay and only said that the rollout was scheduled.