Moscow social card
Governments across the world want to improve efficiency and save costs — which is what the Moscow Social Card project does.
This is a revolutionary programme which demonstrates the social impact and economic benefits smart cards can bring. It combines better distribution and management of social benefits with greater transparency in the retail transactions on which governments depend for tax revenue.
The card, branded Visa Electron, is used across Moscow to distribute pensions and other social benefits, for transport discounts, to give access to medical insurance and treatment, and to qualify for retail discounts. It also brings more people into the banking system and introduces them to the benefits of modern payments.
It is used by around two million welfare recipients, including pensioners, disabled people, members of the armed forces, service veterans, students and municipal workers.
The cards have a magnetic stripe, which is accepted at any electronic Visa terminal around the world, and a contactless chip containing data about the cardholder, which can be used in the Moscow region.
The contactless memory has 16 sectors. Three contain general information and each of the other 13 is designated for a particular government department and protected with individual private key access.
A dual interface enables the cardholder to carry out a transaction traditionally, by using the contact interface of the card, and via a radio channel between a card and a terminal, which is very useful for speeding up queues.
It also allows for the use of other applications. For instance, banks could add national loyalty programmes in association with Visa, perhaps co-branded with important retailers such as fuel companies, supermarkets, restaurant chains, department stores and mobile telephone companies.
The Moscow Social Card model has already been taken up in other Russian cities and work has begun on similar projects in CIS countries, notably Azerbaijan, where a pilot to distribute state pensions has been launched.