Boost to Nigerian Payments System as MasterCard Powers Identity Card Program for 13m

The Nigerian National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and MasterCard today announced at the World Economic Forum on Africa the roll-out of 13 million MasterCard-branded National Identity Smart Cards with electronic payment capability as a pilot program. The National Identity Smart Card is the Card Scheme under the recently deployed National Identity Management System (NIMS). This program is the largest roll-out of a formal electronic payment solution in the country and the broadest financial inclusion initiative of its kind on the African continent.

As part of the program, in its first phase, Nigerians 16 years and older, and all residents in the country for more than two years, will get the new multipurpose identity card which has 13 applications including MasterCard’s prepaid payment technology that will provide cardholders with the safety, convenience and reliability of electronic payments in the Nigerian payments system. This will have a significant and positive impact on the lives of these Nigerians who have not previously had access to financial services.

The Project will have Access Bank Plc as the pilot issuer bank for the cards and Unified Payment Services Limited (Unified Payments) as the payment processor. Other issuing banks will include United Bank for Africa, Union Bank, Zenith, Skye Bank, Unity Bank, Stanbic, and First Bank.

“Today’s announcement is the first phase of an unprecedented project in terms of scale and scope for Nigeria,” said Michael Miebach, President, Middle East and Africa, MasterCard. “MasterCard has been a firm supporter of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) 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”.

“Access Bank’s involvement in this project is testament to our ongoing efforts to expand financial inclusion in Nigeria,” said Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, CEO of Access Bank. “The new identity card will revolutionize the Nigerian economic landscape, breaking down one of the most significant barriers to financial inclusion – proof of identity, while simultaneously providing Nigerians with a world class payment solution”.

“Unified Payments is the foremost transaction processor and pioneer of EMV processing and acquiring in Nigeria, owned by leading Nigerian banks. We will use our expertise and experience to guarantee the success of the project and ensure that the data of Nigerians are protected. We look forward to working with other partners in delivering value to all stakeholders’’, said Agada Apochi, Managing Director and CEO, Unified Payments.