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Important update regarding new ASPEN cards, 17th May 2021

Some key info regarding the transition to the new ASPEN card. Full info attached. **Note the BLACKOUT WEEKEND 22ND/23RD MAY**

What are the key dates to be aware of?

  •  From 10th May – The new Aspen card will be dispatched to SUs, along with an instructional pin mailer.
  •  Friday 21st May (from 5pm) – The current Aspen card will be deactivated to enable the balance transfer.
  •  Weekend of 22nd/23rd May – ‘Blackout period’ – A balance transfer between the old and new Aspen card will take place. In order to facilitate this transfer, both Aspen cards will be deactivated. This means that over the weekend of 22nd/23rd May 2021, Aspen cannot be used to either withdraw funds or for purchases at retailers.
  •  Monday 24th May – The new Aspen card will be live and active for SUs to use, with their previous balance transferred and their weekly payments continuing to be made.

What is the blackout period?
This signals the end of the mobilisation period and spans from 5pm on Friday 21st May to 9am on Monday 24th May. Throughout this time, both Aspen cards will be unavailable to use whilst a balance transfer takes place.

How can a Service User prepare for the blackout period?
SUs are being encouraged to make cash withdrawals or necessary purchases needed for this blackout weekend prior to 5pm on Friday 21st May. From 9am on Monday 24th May, the SU can then begin to use their new PFS Aspen card (peach/orange).

What happens if the SU needs funds during the blackout period – e.g. forgets to withdraw/make purchases?
In the first instance, this is covered in the SU comms both directly and indirectly (for external stakeholders and strategic delivery partners) to continue to reinforce the message that SUs should withdraw cash or make purchases before 5pm Friday 21st May. Clearly, the importance of SUs preparing for this is key and we will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure that most, if
not all are prepared. In the event that an SU still does not withdraw cash or make necessary purchases and is in need of funds, there are existing business processes such as Emergency Cash Payment (ECP) procedures in place for absolute emergency situations.

When can the new PFS Aspen Card be used?
Though the cards should begin to arrive with SUs from 10th May, they cannot be used to access funds or purchase items until 24th May. Between 10th May – 24th May, they should ensure that they have followed the instructions to activate the card and keep the card safe ready to be used on 24th May.

When does the old (green) Sodexo Aspen card turn off?
The green Sodexo Aspen card will be unavailable for use from 5pm on Friday 21st May.

What if there are still funds remaining on the Sodexo Aspen card on Friday 21st May?
This balance will migrate to the PFS Aspen card and be available on Monday 24th May.

What does the Service User do with the old green Sodexo card once they have activated their new Aspen card?
SUs are encouraged to keep hold of their old (green) Aspen card

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