The Nigerian government announced it will begin a pilot program to issue 13 million electronic identity cards (e-IDs) to residents. The cards include a prepaid account as well as 12 other applications.
Nigeria will roll out the Mastercard-branded EMV cards in several phases. The first phase targets Nigerians 16 years and older, and residents who have lived in the country for more than two years. As part of the enrollment process, the government will record an individual’s demographic, biometric data (including fingerprints and facial picture) and digital signature.
The card’s payment functions include the ability for holders to deposit funds into a prepaid account, receive government social benefits, pay for goods and services online or in brick-and-mortar locations and withdraw cash from MasterCard-branded ATMs.
Access Bank will issue the cards for the pilot and Unified Payment Services will process the transactions. United Bank for Africa, Union Bank, Zenith, Skye Bank, Unity Bank, Stanbic, and First Bank also will eventually issue the cards.
“The new identity card will revolutionize the Nigerian economic landscape, breaking down one of the most significant barriers to financial inclusion – proof of identity, while simultaneously providing Nigerians with a world class payment solution,” commented Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, CEO of Access Bank at the announcement of the pilot.
Electronic identity cards have become more common in recent years as governments turn to the cards to improve efficiency as well as reduce the cost of distributing social welfare payments. For a comprehensive overview of recent international eID developments see Mercator Advisory Group’s research note, Global Citizen ID Initiatives, as well as a recent PaymentsJournal Perspective, “Electronic Identity Cards for Every European Citizen?”
Click here to read more from Finextra.