The Makatizen Card
The Makatizen Card is a pioneering project that brings together social services, information, identification, and financial features to Makati’s constituents. It is a unified, multi-purpose government-issued citizen ID that consolidates financial and social benefits for over 500,000 Makati residents.
Many public services in Makati are accessible to all demographics. But there also have resident specific services that answer needs dictated by life stage, health, education & quality of life conditions. Though the city has been successfully managing these programs, it still continue to look for ways to execute things better & faster. Technology is a key component in realising this. As Makatizens grow in number, they usher in a mix of needs & personal aspirations. The administration's task is to anticipate what their future needs & wants will be. By supporting these with modern technologies, one can innovate how services are delivered and better predict what we will need to be offered in the future. The Makatizen Card is an example of a program built today to meet the needs of tomorrow. The Card is a Government-issued ID; Financial services card; Loyalty and rewards card; and Social services benefits card. The ID feature is quite prominent & one of the most important. For a Makatizen to receive services properly, the administration need to ascertain identity & other personal info. These provide the basis for the social services that a person requires and ensures that records are accurate so that as the Makatizen moves from one life stage to another, services are adjusted accordingly and painlessly.
A persistent issue with many government IDs is that they are based on little to no verified info. Many IDs do not have the most current information about the cardholder and these may not have all the information required to meet the city's objectives. In a city w/ almost 700,000 residents & millions in visitors & transients, the veracity of identity seriously affects efficient service delivery. The administration wants the Makatizen Card to match at least the integrity of IDs such as driver’s licenses & passports. Applicants have to personally appear & present legal documents that are carefully scrutinised. Additional data is also captured onsite at the Makatizen Card Capturing Areas before applications are acted on. This process clearly establishes the identity of the applicant and meets the KYC standards of the Central Bank of the Philippines. After a Makatizen card is issued, this becomes the sole ID needed for various transactions & benefits coming from the City. At the back of the card are other details such as Cardholder’s full name, birthdate, address; Emergency Contact’s details; Cardholder's digitised signature; Other Government ID details such as SSS number & the like; and the Digitised signature of the issuing authority. The information printed on the card can be quickly checked with the City's database. This makes the Makatizen Card a proof of identity that both Makatizens and the City Government can trust. Soon, the Makatizen Card will become the only ID card accepted from Makatizens transacting with City Hall. The Makatizen Card also comes with an EMV chip, magnetic strip, and cardholder’s signature field.
The Makatizen Card was designed to be a financial card that becomes the holder’s key to cashless transactions. The first financial feature is its mobile wallet. With this wallet, money is cashed in or placed inside via the mobile money system. Funds in the wallet can then be used in various ways such as: sending money to others; paying for utility bills, buying online and so on. The wallet feature of the card also means no more lining up at City Hall to claim benefits. Salaries & bonuses, cash gifts, financial assistance, stipends, can now be cashed into the beneficiary’s Makatizen Card. This convenience will be highly appreciated by both the City and its beneficiaries. Makati City’s landmark programs are best known by names such as Yellow & Blue Card. This is because each social service program issues its own unique benefit card. The Makatizen Card will change this practice. Once a Makatizen is covered by a social service program, his benefits details are also stored in his Makatizen Card’s RFID chip. A good example would be our senior citizens. Usually, they carry three cards with them: Yellow & Blue cards, which are issued by the City & White Card, which is issued by the National Government. Depending on the types of benefits they are entitled, they need to present the appropriate card. Now with their Makatizen Card, one can store their White Card details & activate their Yellow Card & Blue Card enrolments. Within the city, the elderly will use only a single card to get medical services from the Hospital of Makati, claim drug subsidies, receive financial allowance, free movies, birthday cakes, and free Christmas goods. More services will be forthcoming. These include reserving and paying for seats in public transport, using the card to pay for local taxes etc. As the Makatizen program builds more momentum, it will give birth to innovations that even the programme’s stakeholders cannot predict at this time.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
The Makatizen Card is the first of its kind in the Philippines. It is a government-issued ID; a financial services card which includes a virtual wallet; loyalty and rewards card; and a social services benefits card. Majority of Filipinos are still unbanked. With the launch of the card, the ordinary Filipino was given the chance to benefit from cashless transactions while having access to social services and benefits in a faster and timely manner. Most cities only provide either a city card, a health card, a benefit card or just a prepaid debit card. This card combines all-in-one.
What is the current status of your innovation?
The Makatizen card project is in various stages. It is primarily at the implementation stage, having issued more than 100,000 cards to all citizens. As it continues to accept applications, the team is also working on evaluating the current program to find ways to improve the process and increase the number of services that the card can be used for. An online portal will be opened to accept application for the Makatizen card. Once personal data has been filled up, a time and slot will be provided to the citizen for requirements submission, verification and biometrics capturing. This may be done in various Makatizen Card Capturing facilities around the city.
The project's private partner is also on-boarding merchants who will accept the Makatizen Cards and will provide loyalty points or discounts through it. This will drive card usage and demand.
Collaborations & Partnerships
iBayad and Mynt (G-Cash) – This is the city’s Private Public Proponent, in charge of providing the cards to the city and its citizens for free.
Makati City MIS Group – This is the group responsible for collecting data and information from the citizens/applicants, verifying the authenticity and storing the information gathered during the data gathering process.
Makati City Makati Action Center – This is the team responsible for delivering the cards and confirming the citizens' place of residence.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
Citizens – Beneficiary of the program. Benefits include a valid government ID; mobile wallet; faster access to allowances, stipend & social benefits.
City Government – Implementor. Benefits from having access to verified citizen data; providing quicker services to true and proven citizens of the city; automation of social services process.
iBayad & Mynt (G-Cash) – Private partner providing the financial services component to the city and its citizens.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
Makatizens are now more savvy when it comes to the use of technology as part of their daily lives. The City's push for financial inclusion is helping the unbanked be banked. This will allow the City to provide its citizens faster access to their allowances, stipend and monetary benefits using the financial wallet of the Makatizen card. Transactions made by citizens using their card increased significantly by the time the program started. Transaction count averaged more than 130 million for all Makatizen card holders. Most use their wallet to send money to family and friends, buy telco credits (load) and to pay bills.
On the non-financial side, the citizen will now only need to bring a single ID to get the benefits from the city such as free medicines, hospitalization in the city hospital, Christmas baskets, and others.
Challenges and Failures
The application process for the card is a tedious one as data needs to be verified to ensure authenticity. The challenges faced during the initial gathering of data was immense & unexpected. Facial & fingerprint biometrics were required & there were a few errors during the beta testing phase which involved 200 of the city’s employees. Eventually, the team was able to address this providing fixes to process & devices. Another challenge is the submission of incomplete documents by applicants. From inconsistency of names to lacking documents to unrecognizable handwriting. These were dealt with on a case-to-case basis. If one document is lacking & unavailable, a secondary one is permitted. Integrating the Makatizen card to the existing system of each social service is a proven challenge but easily addressed & solutions implementable. Platforms which needs integration are: Healthcare Information Management System; City Pharmacy partner; Cinema partners; Social Welfare Department.
Conditions for Success
Keys to success in implementing this program:
1. Diligent and detailed staff to review authenticity and veracity of applicant information and requirements submitted.
2. Robust database to store information of each citizen.
3. Strict adherence to the Central Bank of the Philippines’ Know-Your-Customer protocol.
4. Choice of the right e-money partner that is partnered with local banks as well as scheme providers (e.g. Mastercard) which can be accepted by global merchants.
5. Use of a proven biometric platform for data capturing.
6. Acceptance of Makatizen card in various merchants in and out of the City.
7. Acceptance of the Makatizen card in all of the City’s centres (health centres, hospitals, pharmacy etc.).
8. Strict adherence to data privacy policies of our country.
Other administrators are claiming to be following the footsteps of Makati in implementing this program to their cities but most are focused on providing only one service on the card. Other cities can benefit from replicating this program; they can learn from the experience gathered by the City of Makati when it started this programme. Critical aspects to deem the program successful would rely on the veracity of the data gathered, as well as the wide acceptance of the Makatizen card in both the city's social services and other merchants. This will allow the city and its citizens to fully maximise the possibilities offered by this programme.
Data acquired from citizens are key to understanding their future needs. Each City must strive to use that data properly to provide better service to its constituents. Securing this data is as crucial as the whole program itself. It is also critical that this data remain pristine and error free. That is why very stringent methods of data acquisition should be carried out. Since information collection is primarily a manual process, several levels of screening were implemented to ensure the veracity and authenticity of the data captured.
The success of this programme also lies in the completion of a full cashless ecosystem. It is equally imperative to have as many merchants as possible for both the financial wallet and the social services component to ensure the its success.