On Monday we reported on a plan being considered by Los Angeles to introduce an identification card that could double as a debit card for LA residents. In response to an information request, the mayor’s office provided a fact sheet on the proposed plan (see below). The city hopes the card will provide an economic resource to economically vulnerable residents including, the elderly, ex-offenders, immigrants, and the homeless.
At 12 percent, Los Angeles County has the largest un-banked population in the United States. That is, 450,000 people who don’t have any financial accounts at any “mainstream financial institutions,” the sheet says. Most of these people pay for things in cash and use check cashing services, which are more expensive than depositing money in banks or credit unions. The City Service Card would offer access to low-cost banking and direct deposit.
Officials say having less people carrying cash will help reduce crime as well.
Anyone who is a resident is eligible for the card, regardless of immigration status. The card would also function as identification. “Parents currently with no ID would be able to pick up their children from school or an after-school program,” however, the card would not be valid for voting or boarding a plane.
A city council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday morning to consider the plan.