All those who have registered for the government’s consumption subsidy scheme will be able to pick up their 3,000-pataca smartcards from today until April 30.
Both permanent and non-permanent residents are entitled to join the consumption subsidy scheme, which consists of a 3,000-pataca consumption smartcard in the first phase and a 5,000-pataca top-up in the second phase. They will have to spend the 3,000 patacas between May 1 and July 31 and the 5,000 patacas between August and December.
Consequently, residents will have 8,000 patacas in their smartcards for spending between next month and December.
The registration period of the consumption subsidy scheme ran between March 18 and April 8. Residents will have to pick up their consumption smartcards at the time and venue they selected when registering on the website of the Macau Monetary Authority (AMCM).
149 pickup points
There are 149 venues on public administration premises and local bank branches for residents to pick up their consumption smartcards. Residents will have to present their ID card when picking up their card.
The smartcard is operated by MacauPass. Residents can spend the subsidy credited to their contactless stored-value card by placing it over MacauPass terminals installed at local shops or other businesses for goods and services.
After the government had announced in the middle of February that it would issue a 3,000-pataca consumption e-voucher to all local residents once the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic in Macau had eased with the aim of boosting local consumption, it announced last week that it will launch the second phase of its consumption subsidy scheme – a 5,000-pataca top-up – as part of its second round of financial support measures for residents and businesses.
Residents can spend up to 300 patacas per day during the first phase of the consumption subsidy scheme. The government said last week that the second phase will continue to have a daily maximum amount of spending but it may change the daily maximum amount for the second phase after assessing spending patterns during the first phase.
The first and second phases will use the same smartcard.
No cash for card but transferable
The consumption subsidy cannot be converted into cash, and it can only be used to buy goods and services. The cards are transferable.
The government said last week that if a resident does not spend all the 3,000 patacas in the first phase of the scheme, the remainder will not be carried forward into the second phase and will instead return to the public coffers.
The smartcard cannot be used for paying public utility bills such as water or electricity or telecom services, and neither can it be used to buy ferry or air tickets. Neither can residents use the card to pay for outbound tourism services or health services. In addition, the card cannot be used for spending in casinos, pawnshops, banks, insurance companies or other financial institutions.
In a statement jointly issued by the Macau Monetary Authority and the Economic Services Bureau (DSE) on Monday, the government urged residents to pick up their consumption smartcards at the time and venue they have selected when registering so as to avoid long queues. The statement noted that residents who have registered for the scheme will receive an SMS as a reminder on the day before the collection date they have selected.
The statement noted that those who lose their consumption smart card will not be issued a new one. The statement also noted that as the second-phase subsidy of 5,000 patacas will be topped up onto the same card, residents should keep their card safely to ensure that they don’t lose it. Residents who have lost their card are required to report the loss to the police, the statement said.
The statement also warned that anyone violating the rules of the consumption subsidy scheme, such as by converting the subsidy into cash, may be held criminally and civilly liable.
The statement also noted that a minor’s consumption smart card must be picked up by one of their parents or a legal guardian.
Residents may also download an authorisation form from the AMCM website to designate another person to pick up the smartcard for them. That person needs to present the smartcard holder’s ID card and his or her own ID card together with the authorisation form signed by the smartcard holder when collecting the consumption smartcard.
The government has said that it expects to spend MOP 2.2 billion (US$277 million) on the first-phase of the consumption subsidy scheme and MOP 3.6 billion on the second phase of the scheme.
During Monday’s daily press conference about Macau’s COVID-19 situation, Ma Chio Hong, who heads the Operations and Communications Division of the Public Security Police (PSP), said that the police will deploy officers to ensure public order at the smartcard collection points across the city.
Over 658,000 residents have registered for the smartcard, the government announced last week.
Macau’s around 190,000 non-resident workers have not been included in the consumption subsidy scheme.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)