NXP Semiconductors’ SmartMX contact security chip has been chosen by the Egyptian government to power its Family Card, a welfare program which offers subsidies on goods such as food to low-income families. The joint project, run by the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the Ministry of Administrative Development, is working with Egyptian card manufacturer Misr Security Systems, to deploy the smart cards.
NXP’s SmartMX security chip protects cardholder information such as address details and national ID numbers, which permanently link the card to its holder and cannot be changed. The device also offers cryptographic protection of sensitive data at both a hardware and software level along.
“Previous schemes were paper-based systems and not as efficient,” said Amr Rashad, chairman Misr Security Systems.
The Family Card will enable users to verify their eligibility for the program at point-of-sale, and enable retailers to more easily recoup funds back from the government.
Started in 2005 in the Suez region, the Family Card program was designed to offer low-income families financial support when purchasing basic foodstuffs such as rice and sugar. To support families regardless of geographical location, the infrastructure supporting the Family Card, consisting of cards, point-of-sale units and the related applications designed by Misr Security Systems, have been rolled out throughout the country to ensure access to subsidies in both rural and urban areas. When completed, some ten million Egyptian households will be participating in the program.