The Public Services Card has been introduced to enable individuals gain access to public services more efficiently and with a minimum of duplication of effort, while at
the same time preserving their privacy to the maximum extent possible.
The PSC is designed to replace other cards within the public sector such as the Free Travel Pass and the Social Services Card of this Department and to make it easy for providers of public services to verify the identity of customers.
The introduction of the PSC marks a significant improvement on existing cards as it provides enhanced access to services. For example, a person who holds a Public Services Card does not need to provide any additional proof of their identity when collecting a social welfare payment at the Post Office. It also, through the inclusion of a photograph and signature and better security features, considerably reduces the potential for identity theft, forgery and fraudulent use.
There are currently two registration processes: the "face-to-face" registration process, and the 'postal' registration process. The ‘postal’ process is by invitation only. The "face-to-face" registration process involves the taking , at offices of the Department, of a person's photograph and signature, the verification of identity and current address as well as the recording of additional data such as answers to security questions to be used in ensuring the future integrity of customers' data.
The 'postal' registration process involves requesting, in writing, a person's consent to use information already provided to other Government agencies, for example a photograph already supplied in connection with an application for a passport, for the purposes of issuing that person with a PSC. The 'postal' registration process also involves the recording of additional data such as answers to security questions to be used in ensuring the future integrity of customers' data.
The security questions will allow a person's identity to be verified in the event that they have to contact a helpdesk for assistance. This is in line with industry best practice and serves as reassurance to customers against identity theft.
The front of the card will hold a person's name, photograph and signature, along with the card expiry date. The back of the card will hold the person's PPS Number and a card number.
There are three main benefits to introducing the PSCFT:
- It will reduce fraud
- It will reduce the potential for forgery, and
- It will save time currently spent re-verifying an individual's identity as they do not need to provide any additional proof of their identity when dealing with other government departments