NEWS: McCanns nets Govt smartcard scheme to end benefit fraud

McCann-Erickson Manchester has scooped the three-year-long pounds 6 million task of selling to a sceptical public the Government’s controversial new scheme to pay benefits by credit card.

McCann-Erickson Manchester has scooped the three-year-long pounds 6

million task of selling to a sceptical public the Government’s

controversial new scheme to pay benefits by credit card.



Under the plan, order books and giros will give way to a new plastic

smartcard, which claimants can use at post office counters. Here, a

single ‘swipe’ through specially installed machines will reveal what

payments are due.



The pounds 1.5 billion scheme is expected to save around pounds 150

million in benefits fraud, according to the estimates of the Social

Security Secretary, Peter Lilley, since the cards will not carry visible

details of which benefit is payable.



McCanns has been working with Pathway - the ICL-led consortium appointed

to install the technology - virtually since its inception two years ago.



The managing director of McCanns Manchester, Brian Child, called the

victory a ‘tremendous win’, and said the agency would handle an

education campaign that would include television, press, posters and

radio, as well as an intensive direct marketing drive.



The scheme involves installing computers in 20,000 post offices over the

next three years, while the promotional activity will be carried out.

Child benefit customers will receive the cards first, after which the

scheme will be extended to an eventual 20 million benefit recipients.



Apart from ICL, the Pathway consortium includes De La Rue, Girobank, the

Irish post office, An Post - which already operates a similar service -

BT, Oracle, Microsoft, the US software company, Escher, and Hambros

Bank.



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