A new, inclusive and scalable approach to disbursing aid in times of crisis
Mastercard and Oracle address legacy challenges with Civic Assist
Legacy approaches to aid disbursement face challenges
As state and municipal governments continue to chart a path towards economic recovery, the need to disburse funds quickly and securely hasn’t diminished. Governments are struggling to get financial aid to a wide array of constituents, from unbanked to fully banked residents, and to small and medium businesses (SMBs).
Challenges include legacy disbursement systems (i.e., checks), which are time-consuming to process, and payments can take weeks or even months to reach recipients. Fraud is also a major concern, as is being able to reliably determine who is and isn’t eligible for benefits.
Governments need a simple, secure, and scalable process that doesn’t require a great deal of resources or management. From tax refunds and transactional payouts, like jury duty or unclaimed property, to emergency and other aid or assistance, governments across the world need a better way to tackle these challenges and disburse aid quickly, securely and more inclusively.
Create efficiencies through CBOs
Many governments are partnering with trusted non-profits and local community-based organizations (CBOs) to disburse payments, so that governments can focus on other aspects of recovery. These partnerships minimize the long term lift for governments; by having non-profits make the disbursements, cities avoid having to issue 1099s to aid recipients, and beneficiaries have a lessened tax liability. Mastercard works closely with governments, non-profits and CBOs to establish efficient, secure systems to enable payments.
Establish efficient, secure disbursement systems
Speed is of the essence in providing emergency relief. Fifty-one percent of U.S. residents would prefer instant disbursements for government payments. Legacy disbursement systems, such as checks, hamper this efficiency. Checks have to be printed, signed, and mailed. Higher check processing fees run large costs for local governments and can delay the delivery of funds by 5-10 business days. In some cases, recipients (particularly the unbanked) are forced to pay exorbitant check cashing fees. Moreover, outdated IT systems prevent beneficiaries from tracking their funds. This failure to track disbursement details leads to the provision of inaccurate data or inability to measure program impact.
Reduce fraud, simplify eligibility verification
Verifying who is eligible for stimulus is a time- and resource-intensive process. Possible fraudulent claims are difficult to manage, and retrieving funds can be lengthy and difficult. Utilizing a powerful infrastructure that is seamlessly integrated with Government records, case management workflow and payment workflow, could significantly accelerate and automate many steps of this complex process.
Partnering to establish efficient, secure disbursement
Mastercard and Oracle partnered to provide just that: working together to develop and deploy a new approach to identity authentication and aid disbursement that’s both digital and scalable. The new solution, Civic Assist, accelerates the timeline for disbursements, and gives recipients the flexibility to choose how they get paid.
Civic Assist’s end-to-end verification process quickly assesses and approves legitimate claims based on government-determined eligibility criteria, allowing governments to pay out funds with a high level of confidence.
Local governments can leverage Mastercard Send™ to deposit funds directly in the bank accounts of residents and SMBs. For unbanked and underbanked residents, reloadable prepaid debit cards may be issued and used anywhere cards are accepted. Governments can easily track the receipt of payments, and analytics from prepaid card programs track program efficiency and provide insight into how funds are utilized (e.g., on food, utilities, transportation, etc.).
We can help — get started
To explore how Civic Assist can help provide fast, secure disbursements, please contact us.
 State and Local Disbursements, Jan 2020, Pymts.com