Integrated Biometrics technology could play an important role in a government-backed effort to extend financial inclusion in Nigeria. The company has announced that, together with document digitization specialist Papersoft and the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), it has been enfolded into the country’s Financial Inclusion Strategy.
The program is aimed at extending financial services access to Nigeria’s 70 million unbanked citizens by the year 2020, and to that end NIBSS and the Central Bank of Nigeria are looking to leverage Integrated Biometrics’ Kojak PL and Five-0 fingerprint scanners to enroll individuals in rural and remote areas in the country’s Bank Verification Number program. The Central Bank of Nigeria has previously indicated that once the BVN program is fully implemented, it plans to replace ATM PINs with biometric scans; in any case, in the meantime, the biometric enrollment of additional citizens in the program “connects secure identity with access to financial services, even in remote locations,” according to a statement from Integrated Biometrics.
Elaborating on the technological solutions in play, Integrated Biometrics said its Kojak PL and Five-0 scanners “are the only truly mobile 10-finger enrollment and verification devices certified and authorized by NIBSS,” adding that they “are perfect for emerging markets, due to their small size, lightweight, rugged construction, and reliability under demanding environmental conditions, plus the ability to run for hours off the power provided by a smartphone.”
While the Nigerian government has faced some criticism for its inefficient use of biometrics – there have been multiple registration efforts by different agencies, with substantial overlap in the data collected – if the Financial Inclusion Strategy proves to be as coherent as it appears, Integrated Biometrics will have played a high-profile role in a laudable effort to improve financial inclusion.
November 29, 2018 – by Alex Perala