The Nigerian National Identity Management Commission and MasterCard announced on Wednesday the issuance of 13 million MasterCard-branded National Identity Smart Cards, the largest electronic payment solution roll-out in the country’s history and the broadest initiative on the continent.
The pilot program is the card scheme rolled out under the National Identity Management System, and as part of the program, Nigerians ages 16 and older and residents of more than two years will receive the card.
The card carries MasterCard’s prepaid payment technology, providing cardholders with secure and reliable electronic payments, which could positively affect many Nigerians who have not had access to traditional financial services.
“Today’s announcement is the first phase of an unprecedented project in terms of scale and scope for Nigeria,” Michael Miebach, the president of MasterCard’s Middle East and Africa division, said. “MasterCard has been a firm supporter of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Cashless Policy as we share a vision of a world beyond cash. From the program’s inception, we have provided the Federal Government of Nigeria with global insights and best practices on how electronic payments can enable economic growth and create a more financially inclusive economy”.
Issuing banks include Access Bank, United Bank for Africa, Union Bank, Zenith, Skye Bank, Unity Bank, Stanbic and First Bank, and Unified Payment Services, Ltd., will serve as the payment processor.
The new National Identity Smart Card will incorporate the National Identification Numbers of registered nationals. As part of the enrollment process, consumers will be required to provide their demographic data and biometric data, which will then be used to authenticate the cardholder and prevent fraud and embezzlement.
Other ID card programs such as those for drivers’ licenses, voter registration, health insurance and taxes will also be integrated into the new card using the NIN system.
Cardholders will be able to deposit money on the card, pay for goods and services, withdraw cash from ATMs and receive social benefits securely with the incorporated EMV chip and PIN standard.
Once the country completes its national ID registration process, NIMC plans to introduce more than 100 million cards in Nigeria.
“We have chosen MasterCard to be the payment technology provider for the initial rollout of the National Identity Smart Card project because the Company has shown a commitment to furthering financial inclusion through the reduction of cash in the Nigerian economy,” Chris ‘E Onyemenam, the director general and CEO of the NIMC, said. “MasterCard has pioneered large scale card schemes that combine biometric functionality with electronic payments and we want to capitalize on their experience in this field to make our program roll-out a sustainable success for the country and for the continent.”