The Women’s Micro Bank and the UN’s Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme are rolling out a new biometric banking system to make financial services more accessible to women in rural Papua New Guinea. The system is essentially a network of kiosks dubbed Mama Access Points – or MAPs – each of which is equipped with a tablet with a biometric fingerprint scanner.
“This makes it much easier for customers as very often bank cards get lost or stolen and many people tend to forget their PIN,” said Women’s Micro Bank General Manager Gunanidhi Das.
The MAPs will reduce the long distances that women in rural areas often have to travel to access traditional banks. Like biometric payment cards, it will also allow those without formal identification to guarantee their identity and gain access to secure financial services.
“This project will help us bridge that gender gap and to empower women to build savings and go into business,” said Women’s Micro Bank Director Noel Norikgu.
The first MAP was recently unveiled in Port Moresby, marking the beginning of a pilot phase aimed at reaching about 20,000 women. The Women’s Micro Bank hopes to expand the kiosks to other parts of Papua New Guinea and the rest of the Pacific.
January 29, 2019 – by Eric Weiss