Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas and Mayor Eric Garcetti announced yesterday the launch of the Angeleno Connect debit card and mobile app — a program that can be used by the City to disburse financial assistance directly to residents, connect people to City services, and offer free financial services to Angelenos without a bank account.
“COVID-19 laid bare the systemic inequities too often found at the heart of our communities — and as we continue to emerge from this crisis, we must rebuild an economy that truly includes everyone,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “At a time when countless Angelenos are in need of financial assistance and guidance, Angeleno Connect will bring them the benefits of a free debit card, financial support and resources, and direct access to critical City services.”
The program is a result of a partnership with Mobility Capital Finance, Inc, or MoCaFi, which is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the card and app. The card, which has already been in use to disburse the City’s allocated Emergency Relief Funding to Angelenos, will give users free transactions, providing a safe debit card for populations without a bank account in the Greater Los Angeles area.
Through the Angeleno Connect website, users can connect to more than 140 of the City’s online services, such as adopting a pet, making a park reservation, or obtaining a business license or permit. Through the mobile app, Angelenos will also be able to access additional materials on crucial financial literacy information, including credit building, small business displacement, and predatory financial services.
In the future, Angelenos will be able to use a single sign-on account for additional City services, including accessing their Los Angeles Department of Water and Power account, filing a MyLA311 request, and enrolling their children in youth sports.
“Equity matters and Angeleno Connect is an example of how best to connect underserved communities to the financial tools that can open doors and opportunities,” said Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas. “As we move into the 21st Century digital economy, we need to be more connected, not less. This initiative represents the fulfillment of that promise - a promise to never leave an Angeleno behind. Shout out to Mayor Eric Garcetti and the community partners for their leadership in making this program a reality.”
“Our collaboration with the City of Los Angeles is a groundbreaking financial services model that cities across the nation facing challenges when trying to connect with hard-to-reach constituencies may emulate,” said Wole Coaxum, Founder and CEO of MoCaFi. “The Angeleno Connect platform embraces Mayor Garcetti's vision of high-quality, safe, and secure financial products and financial literacy services while offering tools to address the wealth gap in the City of Los Angeles."
The program is part of a broader effort by Mayor Garcetti to make City services more accessible to Angelenos of all backgrounds. Last year, Mayor Garcetti issued an Executive Directive on Contactless and People-Centered Government, which has helped make more than 235 City services available online.
The Angeleno Connect Card is supported by Mastercard’s City Possible™ platform, which helps provide security and extra protection for users of the program.
“In the early days of the pandemic, we forged a unique partnership model that enabled rapid fundraising and aid disbursement to help Angelenos hardest hit,” said Miguel Gamiño, EVP of Enterprise Partnerships for Mastercard. “This work laid the foundation for the Program’s expansion centered on ensuring digitally inclusive access to integrated City services and furthering our shared commitment with Mayor Garcetti to closing the racial wealth and opportunity gaps that persist.”
The announcement of the Angeleno Connect program follows the initial release of the Angeleno Card in the summer of 2020, a card used to provide Angelenos impacted by the pandemic with direct financial assistance. After the rollout of the card, the City partnered with IGNITE cities to offer a financial service specifically targeted for more vulnerable Angelenos without bank accounts.
“We are honored to serve Mayor Garcetti and his team by supporting a first-class group of companies in MoCaFi and Mastercard that are committed to providing opportunities that uplift all communities,” said Reyahd Kazmi, Managing Director of IGNITE Cities.
As a part of the program, users will also be able to make free withdrawals with their Angeleno Connect Card at any of Wells Fargo’s ATMs.
"MoCaFi and Wells Fargo share a common goal of pursuing solutions that reduce the number of unbanked individuals, starting in communities with the greatest need,” said Darlene Goins, who leads the Banking Inclusion Initiative for Wells Fargo. “We’re proud to support MoCaFi’s new partnership with the City of Los Angeles by offering MoCaFi customers the ability to use their Angeleno Connect card at Wells Fargo ATMs nationwide without incurring fees from Wells Fargo. Working together we’re taking another step forward in removing barriers to financial inclusion.”
Residents may learn more about the program, get an account, or sign up for services by visiting LACity.org/AngelenoConnect or calling 3-1-1.