The pros and cons of the UMID card, where you can use it in the Philippines

Separate logins for each portal or website, that was the norm of the online world some time ago. Things have changed much, and now nobody gives a damn about remembering the login credentials when they need to log in to a portal or website. Our email id or Facebook login is our new universal magic keys for us to explore the online world, including sign up and access.

Today we do not get panic attacks even if our banking application throws us the “Login failed” message. We know our email id alone can help us to recover the login by resetting it. Such a pragmatic approach with a uniform identity across different platforms made our life much more comfortable in the digital world. But in the physical world, we are still obsessed with lengthy procedures and a multitude of authentication systems. 

A country like the Philippines, even with a high internet-savvy population, too, is not an exception for this inflexible approach of governance. The Philippines has been following a draconian system of multiple identity cards for different purposes.  It made the life of a Filipino, miserable. He had to spend a significant portion of time from his hectic life to get different physical documents to prove his identity. The physical verification of several papers and the diverse nature of the requirements made each interaction with the government agencies highly time-consuming and lethargic. 

To reduce the ordeal of the ordinary citizen, the government has introduced The Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID) card as a single identity card for all government purposes. Its uniform acceptance across multiple platforms simplifies the identification process and helps the government to ensure faster and efficient delivery of services. 

What is UMID Card

The Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID) is an identity card issued by the Philippines government to provide a hassle-free identification for its citizens across different platforms. It contains all necessary identification information such as name, photo, signature, biometric data, and much more.

 This digital card uses an emv smart chip for storing your information. Apart from securing the data, it enables the devices to read the data in a contactless way. It improves data security and eliminates the possibilities for data tampering or fraud.   

The UMID helps the Filipino to use his time and energy on various meaningful tasks other than untangling the official formalities. It makes his interactions with government agencies such as The Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or Pag-IBIG Fund), and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) quite fruitful and efficient. 

Apart from establishing your identity for various government activities, the card can act as a voter’s id too. But it is not yet approved as a proof of citizenship. 

The Philippine Social Security System (SSS), the government agency for the social insurance program for the employees, is spearheading the implementation of UMID. SSS takes care of the UMID card requirement of Private sector workers, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), Self-Employed individuals, and Non-working Spouses. 

For the public sector workers, the authority to issue UMID cards is Government Service Insurance System (GSIS)For those not covered by SSS or GSIS, PhilHealth is the implementation agency. 

UMID benefits both the government and the citizens. The government can save a substantial amount as the card eliminates the requirement for creating multiple id cards and verification systems. Its life long validity helps the user to avoid long queues and expenditure on the renewal process.

Who can apply for the UMID 

To obtain a UMID card, you should satisfy the following conditions as a prerequisite. 

  1.  Your SSS/GSIS status should be current
  2.  You should have made at least one month’s contribution
  3.  Your date of coverage should be valid
  4.  You shouldn’t have an SSS ID or UMID card No.
  5. If you are unemployed, with no previous contributions or coverage, you won’t be eligible for UMID even by paying voluntary participation to comply with the laws.

If you satisfy the requirements, you can make a formal application in the prescribed format to the concerned agency. Your request should be supported by relevant documents to establish your claim for a UMID. 

The forms are available on the internet. But there is no provision for making the entire process online. The applicant has to make a physical appearance on the designated centers for capturing his biometric information. The Central Verification System ( CVS) checks for any data duplication. If everything is fine, you will get your UMID through PhilPost.

Where can I use UMID in Philippines?

 A straight answer would be wherever you have to prove your identity.

UMID is the new primary document of identity for a Filipino. You can use it for all public institutions or government offices to establish your identity for the acceptance of any services. 

You can use it for opening bank accounts, school admission, or hospitalization requirements. UMID makes the distribution of government grants, purchases of various financial products such as credit cards, loans, etc., quite streamlined and targeted. 

 

UMID is an integrated identity card that contains information about your medical history and criminal anecdotes. A set of stringent data security rules ensures the complete safety of your data. 

However, the law permits the enforcement authorities to share your medical information with the medical professionals during an emergency. It means your UMID card can be your life saver too. 

Enhanced Features of UMID

UMID has become a multi-purpose card that can be used for identification as well. Below we will tell you about some features or advantages of the UMID card.

UMID-ATM

All the major banks of Philippines are part of the UMID-ATM program. It means a user can use the card for withdrawal of money from the ATMs spread across the country. While traveling abroad, they can use the UMID-ATM card on VISA branded ATMs for international transactions. For a member of the SSS network, he can quickly check his profile, account balance and can make the contributions around the clock, using the ATMs. 

Incorporating banking facilities with the UMID is an excellent help for the pensioners and the disabled population. They no longer need to travel to the SSS offices and can avoid the long queues there. Earlier they have to get the cheques and then send it for realization. It often takes weeks, and they may need to travel to different places. 

Now all the benefits for retirement, disability, sickness, and various social responsibility schemes are directly transferred to the benefactors UMID-ATM card. It is much faster, secure, and convenient for the user as they can withdraw the money without any exertion, especially for the elderly ones. 

The low dependency of cheques reduces the paperwork involved in the process and reduces the expenditure for the government. For the customer, the timely delivery of funds and smooth online transactions enables him to make contributions or payment on time and avoids late fees. 

Faster Loan Approval 

We all depend on loans to meet our financial requirements, such as emergencies, home renovation, or purchasing a car. The majority of the Filipinos are worried about the loan application process than the repayments. 

The processes to establish your identity, eligibility and long delays in getting the loans approved are quite tiresome and exhausting. In the Philippines, the number of people who uses banks for their financial needs is lower in comparison with government agencies such as SSS, GSIS, and Pag-IBIG. 

Getting a single identity card for all these agencies relieves the customer from the worries of identity proof and makes the process more customer-friendly. There is no need to make a physical application for loan availability. You can submit the loan request online using your smartphone at your comfort and convenience.  You get regular updates about the loan process through SMS. Once it is approved, the amount is readily available in your account for withdrawal. 

Various data about loan approval shows that banks and lending agencies have a clear preference for UMID enabled loan applications. Loan approval rates appear to be high for this category of applicants against forms without UMID.

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Disadvantages of UMID

The main disadvantage is that, unfortunately, getting a UMID card is not yet entirely online. You have to visit the concerned agencies to register your biometric information personally. The verification process and card issue take even months, not a praiseworthy time frame during this digital era. 

In addition, we will note the following points:

  • UMID is not available for all. For instance, an unemployed person can’t gain this card through voluntary contributions, unless he has a proven history of regular donations.
  • Like in any national card, the state can easily track your activities and can keep you under complete surveillance. 
  • UMID follows a Central Verification System (CVS) for verification of data. If something happens to the verification system, it can jeopardize the entire operations, and a rollback to the previous method is impossible. 
  • Managing an ID verification system with proper redundancy and regular up-keeping is a costly affair. 

The majority of the issues mentioned above are just some teething issues for the implementation of a uniform identity card. Innovative approaches can easily overcome it, and a full rollout will make the life of Filipinos much better for sure.

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Written by | Modified date: March 26, 2020

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