Macau distributes stimulus spending via prepaid smartcards

The government of Macau is stimulating the local economy by distributing contactless smartcards to residents that come pre-loaded with a credit of 3,000 patacas (US$377.43) that must be spent in local stores by the end of July.

Macau Pass prepaid smartcard logo

Residents can use the cards to spend up to 300 patacas (US$37.74) a day — and will then have their card topped up with an additional 5,000 patacas (US$629.05) credit during a second phase beginning in August.

The system is being operated by local prepaid card issuer Macau Pass and allows residents to use their card to make purchases for a restricted range of items at merchants that accept Macau Pass for payments.

Residents will have to spend the 3,000 patacas between 1 May and 31 July and the 5,000 patacas between August and December, Macau News reports.

“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,” the report adds.

“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.”

“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,” Macau News says. “The first and second phases will use the same smartcard.”

To receive their preloaded card, residents register on the website of the Macau Monetary Authority (AMCM) and select a preferred pickup date and point from a list of 149 bank branches and government offices.

They then visit their selected pickup point and show their government ID to prove their identity.

“Residents may also download an authorisation form from the AMCM website to designate another person to pick up the smartcard for them,” Macau News explains.

“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.”