Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan received his National eID card Thursday, heralding the official launch of the eID pilot program. In the pilot phase, the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC) will issue MasterCard-branded identity cards with electronic payments functionality to 13m Nigerians.
It initiative is the largest rollout of a biometric-based verification card with an electronic payment solution in the country and the broadest financial inclusion program in Africa.
The eID card forms a key component of the Nigerian Identity Management System, deployed by NIMC as part of its mandate to create, maintain and operate the country’s first central National Identity Database and provide proof of identity to Nigerians 16 years and older.
With 13 applications, including MasterCard’s prepaid payment technology and Cryptovision’s biometric identification technology, the eID card will provide millions of Nigerians – the majority of whom have never had access to a banking product – with electronic payments.
“I am happy that this important milestone of the rollout of the National Identity Management System has been realised today,” said President Goodluck Jonathan. “I am impressed with the quality of the eID card and the work of the corporate partners that made it possible. I commend especially MasterCard, and Access Bank Plc, as well as the Commission [NIMC] for achieving a world-class product.”
Through the collaborative efforts of NIMC (project lead), MasterCard (payments technology provider), Unified Payment Services Limited (payments processor), Cryptovision (Public Key Infrastructure and Trust Services Provider), and pilot issuing banks including Access Bank Plc, 13m Nigerians will gain access to state-of-art financial services as part of the pilot program.
“This is a memorable occasion for MasterCard as we witness the start of a financial inclusion program that is unprecedented in scale and scope,” said Daniel Monehin, Division President of Sub-Saharan Africa, MasterCard. “Combining an identity card with MasterCard’s prepaid payment capability creates a game changer as it breaks down one of the most significant barriers to financial inclusion – proof of identity – while simultaneously enabling Nigerians to access the global economy.”
Monehin added that the broader economic impact of the card will be felt as the previously unbanked and underbanked are able to gain access to the mainstream economy, and the visibility of their assets allows them to build a financial history and establish creditworthiness with financial institutions.
Using the card as a payment tool, Nigerians can deposit funds, receive social benefits, save, or engage in many other financial transactions that are facilitated by electronic payments with the extra security assurance that biometric verification provides. They can also pay for goods and services and withdraw cash at millions of merchants and ATMS that accept MasterCard payment cards in Nigeria and in more than 210 countries and territories globally. The card also has the added safety and security benefits offered by the EMV Chip and PIN standard.
Upon completion of the pilot program, NIMC plans to introduce more than 100m cards to Nigeria’s 167m citizens.
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