Identity Card Program by MasterCard in Nigeria

MasterCard plans to issue 13 million National Identity cards with capability of electronic payment. National ID Smart Card project is launched under National Identity Management System (NIMS). The project is the largest electronic payment solution rollout not only in Nigeria but on African continent in general.

In the first part of the program all Nigerians (16 years and older) and foreigners residing in Nigeria for more than 2 years will receive these multipurpose cards. Each card will have 13 applications. One of applications is going to be MasterCard prepaid technology. This feature enables cardholders with secure, convenient and reliable option of electronic payments.

Minister of Finance and Coordinative Minister of Economy in Nigeria seas sees strong potential of Identity Smart Card Program in shifting Nigeria to electronic platform. MasterCard was chosen as a partner in launch of Identity Smart Card, as it has earlier supported cashless initiatives in Nigeria. MasterCard has also has large experience in combining biometric protection with electronic payments. Their experience will be used for successful rollout of the project and its long term stability within the country.

New Identity Smart Card will revolutionize Nigerian economic landscape - combining identity proof and electronic payment option. Identity Smart Card will have the unique National Identity Numbers of a registered individual indicated on it. It will include also the following biometric data: capture of all fingerprints, facial picture and digital signature). Biometric data is used to identify cardholder and prevent fraud and theft.

Unique scheme of Identity Smart Card can store other identification documents such as Driver License, Voters Registration, Tax and the National Pension Commission, Health Insurance. Cardholders can use Identity Smart Card for depositing funds to a card, getting social benefits and making payments for goods and services at any of millions locations accepting MasterCard worldwide.

It will be recalled that in the beginning of 2012 Central Bank of Nigerian Nigeria launched cash policy, stimulating shift of cash society to cashless one. According to new policy withdrawal and deposit of free cash has to stay within the limit of 500,000 NGN and 3,000,000 NGN for individuals and corporate clients. If transactions are of a higher volume, additional fee has to be paid. The first territory to experience cash policy was Lagos, it is also called Cashless Lagos.

New cash policy was introduced due to a number of reasons: renewal of payment system in Nigeria, reducing of the cost of bank operations, stimulation of monetary policy in driving down inflation and improvement of economic growth. Nigerian goal is to be within one of the prominent economically strong countries by 2020.

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