MasterCard Unveils Nigerian ID Card with Prepaid Function (May 13,2013)
A new program from MasterCard and Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) will roll out 13 million new ID cards with prepaid payment functionality, in what the payment network calls the largest program of its kind in Africa. Unveiled at last week’s World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, the MasterCard-branded National Identity Smart Card will be available to all Nigerians aged 16 and older, as well as those who have been residents of the country for more than two years. The card will include the holder’s National Identification Number (NIN), issued to those who enroll with the NIMC and provide demographic and biometric data, such as fingerprints and pictures.
Established by the Nigerian government in 2007, the NIMC is tasked with implementing and maintaining a national identity management system to help Nigerians assert their identity and reduce fraud and embezzlement. The NIN system is being used to establish a National Identity Database of Nigerians, according to the NIMC. Upon completion of the registration program, NIMC aims to introduce more than 100 million identification cards to Nigeria’s 167 million citizens. “The new program will serve as “a common platform for interacting with the various government agencies and for transacting electronically,” said Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s minister of finance and coordinating minister for the economy. The cards will be accepted at more than 35 million locations globally, and can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs. Social assistance recipients can opt to have benefits loaded onto the card as well.
Access Bank Plc is the card issuer for the pilot and Unified Payment Services Ltd. as payment processor. Other issuing banks will include United Bank for Africa, Union Bank, Zenith, Skye Bank, Unity Bank, Stanbic and First Bank.
The program follows a Paybefore Award-winning biometric ID/payment card program launched in April 2012 for South Africans receiving social benefits. . And earlier this year, MasterCard was a partner in a program to issue municipal ID cards featuring a prepaid function to residents of Oakland, Calif.