Description of the Solution
The PalPay Electronic Voucher and Cash assistance Platform is a payment solution that was developed, deployed and launched in 2014. Currently, it is widely used by several international organizations and can accommodate all types of voucher and cash assistance for underprivileged families and citizens through different humanitarian and aid organizations.
The PalPay solution comprises a number of software, mobile and web -based applications, as well as an EFT-POS machines equipped with a bar-code reader to allow conversion of the application to a simple-to-use, fully functional electronic cash register capable of processing ‘payment’ for food and non-food items, together with cash distribution. These components empower humanitarian (aid) organizations to fully manage their aid programs with the highest possible level of transparency and efficiency, monitoring and control. The application also includes comprehensive reporting on all required financial and statistical needs of the organization.
The Platform Components
1. Online Registration System
This is a web-based beneficiary and employer registration system that enables beneficiaries and employers alike to register within a specific program announced by the aid organization, and allowing beneficiaries to apply for certain urgent needs to be met.
Those interested in applying for any announced livelihood activities do so as individuals. As a “beneficiary” they can register and complete their profile, provide status information, skills, etc., for selected activities or those where the beneficiary’s skills are well matched with one of the aid organization’s announced programs.
The employer can register requirements needed to be considered for employment, including the employee’s skills and classification, as well as confirming the number of vacancies. As a consequence, suitable beneficiaries will automatically be matched to the employer’s requirements. All registration forms can be easily customized to meet each and every aid organization’s specific needs and requirements.
The system is fully managed through a highly secured and easy-to-use admin portal, which is utilized by the aid organization’s team, its main components are:
- Applicant management module: This module manages the registered beneficiary applications, edits all beneficiaries’ profiles, collates all the data, and generates a range of useful statistical reports.
- Employer management module: This module manages the registered employers, edits their profiles and job posts, collates all the data and generates a range of useful statistical reports.
- Scoring and matching module: Each registered beneficiary is given a score against each employer job post based on a set of defined criteria. Beneficiaries with the highest scores based on the announced job posts will be hired accordingly.
- Hiring Module: This module manages the hiring process and covers all steps required for the employer to hire the beneficiary, after finishing all required checks and approvals. This module also manages the beneficiary interview invitation and monitors all aspects of the hiring process.
- Reporting Module: This module provides comprehensive applicant/beneficiary reporting capabilities such as: work placement (e.g. number of beneficiaries per work site, gender disaggregation, geographic, activity, etc.,) and on the employer’s side, information such as: nature of work, number of employees, location, etc., as well as statistical and financial reports.
- User Management module: This module allows the system admin to manage other aid organization users within the organization, defining their access privileges based on their roles (group) in the organization.
2. Livelihood activities Management System
Under the livelihoods activities’ component, the platform is designed to effectively manage any of the following activities:
- Cash-for-Internship & Cash-for-Apprenticeship
- Small Capital Grants
Once a beneficiary has been selected to join one of the above mentioned activities, the system will then issue a Payment and Identification Debit Card. This card should be used by the beneficiary during the project life-cycle and for the following tasks:
- The Card is used to register the beneficiary’s attendance at the required location through the deployment of the dedicated time attendance system (through the use of a POS machine linked directly to the online platform). The beneficiary can register their attendance at work, by swiping their card on the POS machine. The system automatically calculates the amount of cash that should be transferred to the beneficiary based on their time attendance records and the program they are enrolled in.
- The beneficiary will receive the cash assistance via the same personal debit cards on each payment cycle and after relevant approvals by the aid organization’s authorized employees. The beneficiary then will be able to either withdraw cash from any ATM machine using their debit card, or they can use the card for purchasing goods in shops and stores via any POS machine.
3. Emergency Response voucher distribution system
Under this program the aid organization can provide ‘managed cash’ to poor families or individuals. Managed cash can be for food or non-food items, which can be defined in the back office, and appropriate data will be automatically loaded to all retail POS machines equipped with barcode readers, allowing the beneficiaries to obtain these items from shops, located near to their accommodation, in both a controlled and simple manner. The voucher distribution system helps poor families to purchase:
- Essential food items – including bread, milk, sugar, flour rice, eggs, etc.
- Essential non-food items – including blankets, mattresses, heaters, etc., from contracted shops through the presentation of specifically created electronic cards which are recognized by the outlet’s POS machine.
The system is implemented using EFT POS machines equipped with bar code readers on the retailer’s side, and the beneficiary’s personal electronic card using PIN/ID as the payment instrument. This makes it suitable for the elderly or less-well-educated to purchase goods securely and easily from outlets within easy walking distance of their accommodation. Each beneficiary’s card is charged with relevant funds based on the program they are involved in, in addition to the numerous predefined criteria which relate specifically to the beneficiary’s profile and frequency of assistance for this program.
This system allows the aid organization to track and analyze purchasing patterns, also enabling it to ensure the program’s integrity and to carefully control the delivery of aid/assistance.
4. Food Parcel Distribution System
Many Aid organizations provide food parcels for their beneficiaries based on the numbers in the household, and many other criteria relating to vulnerability.
In certain cases, organizations provide participants with an entitlement which is based on the actual commodity and an appropriate quantity, as opposed to value. For example, a participant may be given an electronic voucher entitling them to a 1 kg bag of flour.
In this instance, the beneficiary will be issued with an electronic card, and will be advised where they can redeem it, either in part, or in full. The platform is integrated with the PalPay system which has been expanded to fully manage all the transactions between the beneficiary and the distribution point/store, taking into account which program the beneficiary is a part of.
The Platform main features
- This is a unique solution created in conjunction with PalPay which is implemented using advanced technologies such as RDMS Databases and web-based technologies, industry standard protocols (ISO 8583), web-based protocols, SOAD, and REST.
- Utilizes dynamic definitions, which allow for simple and swift customization for any new requirements or needs.
- Incorporates integrated accounting systems, integrated auditing systems, and integrated settlement approaches, which allow it to be customized and configured to meet the different needs of accounting, reporting, and various methods used for ‘payment’.
- Allows payment settlement online during each transaction processing between the agent/shop bank account and the organization bank account, thus reducing the cost of operating the aid distribution.
- Provides intensive and comprehensive reporting modules, such as:
- Monitoring Reports: Allow the user to keep track of transactions and redemption in the system.
- Online Redemption: The redemption process will be monitored by specific reports, which show full details of each individual redemption transaction, including item lists paired with quantity and prices, including shop name, beneficiary ID, etc.
- Online Transactions: Each redemption transaction will be represented by an online payment transaction; this financial transaction will display the related accounting entries.
- Analysis Reports: to be used to obtain statistics about the work, and present a general overview of how the work is proceeding, thus assisting management with the decision-making process.
- Accounting Reports: These reports are used for generating financial statements for the beneficiaries, shops/stores/merchandisers, and programs.
- Historical Reports: These reports are used to generate historical data of any entity in the system to identify each and every single transaction/element. The system will keep track of the history of all updates performed across the system included in each and every phase, providing full details of beneficiaries, shops/stores/merchandisers, etc.
- Beneficiary Status: This report will display all information linked to a beneficiary for any specified period of time.
- Shop transaction: This report provides all the information about each and every transaction which has occurred in a specific shop/store over a specified period of time. Information will include the name of the beneficiary, shop/store name, transaction number, list of purchased items and their cost, plus any payment made by the beneficiary directly to the shop additional to any electronic voucher payment.
- Shop/Store Statement of Account: This report displays a summary of the shop/store account (i.e. includes historical financial data for a given period for each particular merchandiser/retailer.)
- Top-up report: This provides information on all beneficiaries, together with shops/stores which have received top-up payment amounts. Search options include:
- Period Status (Received Top up / Not Received Top up)
- Type of View (By Shop – By Beneficiary – By Phase – By Amount)
- Text field for Comment / Remarks
- Statement of Account: This financial ledger displays a summary of the beneficiary’s account or a shop account and displays details of all transactions and amounts used to purchase specific items, at specific shops over a specified period of time.
- Detailed Shop registry: This report provides all the information about the included commodities/items, name of commodities, quantity redeemed, retail outlet, and value redeemed over a specified period of time.