Payment card for refugees? Current status of the plans

No more cash for refugees, but a “credit balance” on a payment card: from the beginning of 2025, refugees throughout Germany are to receive their social benefits via a payment card—and no longer as cash or by bank transfer as before. The federal and state governments agreed on this in November 2023. Each federal state can decide for itself which functions the new card will and will not have. The CDU/CSU and FDP parliamentary groups were particularly in favour of excluding so-called “remittances” to family and friends in the countries of origin.
So far, there are only concrete plans for this in the federal states of Bavaria, Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. A few cities and districts have already launched their own system, in Baden-Württemberg only the Ortenau district in Baden. Other districts such as Rastatt and Waldshut may want to follow this example.
The Baden-Württemberg Refugee Council described the plans at the end of January as an “expression of current deterrent tendencies in refugee policy”. It was a misconception that people would be forced to flee less often simply because of the payment card. According to a study by the Institute for Labour and Occupational Research, asylum seekers who have arrived rarely transfer money. Money is only transferred to the countries of origin when people are working and earning money here.


Flüchtlingsunterkunft Tübingen. Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL / Mostafa Elyasian.







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