Nigeria’s smart ID card roll-out kicks off
Nigeria officially begins its roll out of a national smart identity (ID) card with electronic payment functionality on Thursday, following three previously unsuccessful attempts.
The West African nation's new ID card is powered by international electronics payment company MasterCard.
MasterCard, the Nigerian National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and Access Bank have all partnered to issue 13 million Nigerians with the cards, in what is a pilot phase.
Access Bank is one of Nigeria's top five banks with more than 60% market share.
Daniel Monehin, division president for sub-Saharan Africa at MasterCard, told ITWeb Africa that national ID card holders will be able to transact and receive payments from government and individuals. Payments can also be made internationally and domestically using the cards.
"This card is a EMV based card and it will be a source of unique identification as well as payments," he said.
"The two biggest barriers to financial inclusion are unique identification and access to financial services. With this card that is being launched today you solve both of these together on the same platform in a cost effective and most efficient manner," he explained.
Nigeria's national smart ID cards will give holders (everyone from 16 years and older) access to financial services, he stated.
According to Monehin, 70% of Nigeria's population has no access to financial services, and only 30% is banked. Nigeria has a population of 170 million, according to the Nigeria National Bureau of Statistics.
The national ID card will also be a tool for several channels such as government making social grant and pension payments to citizens.
Once the pilot stage's registration process of the project has been completed, MasterCard's plan is to introduce more than 100 million cards to all Nigerians.
Monehin also said Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan would be the first official recipient of the new smart ID card at the launch on Thursday.