Saturday 18 January, 2020

Over 24,000 households to benefit with new food support debit cards

Thousands of families are expected to benefit from the upgraded debit cards for food support which is expected to bring greater transparency and accountability to the Food Support Programme.

Distribution of the new card began last Thursday and will continue at select TTPost outlets.

The introduction of the improved card follows months of extensive discussion with stakeholders, including First Citizens Bank Limited, and the Supermarkets Association of Trinidad and Tobago.

Beneficiaries were invited to become recertified from September 2018 to present. More than 14,000 persons were removed from the system following this recertification exercise.

Only persons who were recertified and continue to satisfy the requirements of the programme will be transitioned to the new debit card system. 

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services explained that it’s working alongside the bank to boost customer confidence towards a safe, cost-efficient, and accessible method of payment while strengthening its overall control and oversight framework.

The card embraces new technology, built on a close-loop system which allows only the pool of participating merchants to administer services strictly for food items. It has its own physical features, which allows easy management, monitoring of usage and reconciliation for both the bank and the Ministry.

Merchants will be required to procure new card machines to facilitate the new debit card. 

The card values reflect the $100 increase announced in the 2019 budget:

1 - 3 per­sons $510.00

3 – 5 per­sons $650.00

5 per­sons $800.00

The Ministry detailed the simplified process:

1. Customers present the card at the cashier’s register of the grocery or supermarket. 

2. Each card has an individual serial number and each client will be assigned a pin number in order to access funds once they swipe their cards.

The Ministry said it is working to streamline the process and make the payments experience as seamless as possible for all clients under the Programme.

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