By Akinwunmi King Lagos
The Nigerian National Electronic Identity (e-ID) card has been named the best financial inclusion product. The National e-ID, which is powered by MasterCard, was given this award at the 2015 Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Card, ATM and Mobile Expo Awards, held in Lagos. Speaking after the receiving the award, Director General and CEO of NIMC, Chris Onyemenam, said “we are extremely honoured to receive this prestigious award, which recognises the strides we are making in providing a convenient, safe, and cost effective electronic payments product to Nigerians – 64 percent of whom do not have a bank account.“Combining an identity card with MasterCard’s prepaid payment capability creates a game changer as it breaks down the most significant barrier to financial inclusion – proof of identity – while simultaneously enabling Nigerians to access state-of-the-art financial services,” he stated.
According to the Vice President and Area Business Head for West Africa, MasterCard, Omokehinde Ojomuyide, “too many people lack access to the most basic financial services, leaving them trapped in a cash economy that imposes greater risks and costs on those least able to afford them.
“Through the e-ID program, we are creating an avenue to help citizens better manage their finances, and participate in the mainstream economy.”
Ojomuyide explained that the broader economic impact of the card will be felt as the previously unbanked build a financial history, which enables them to secure loans from financial institutions.
“We are proud to be associated this program, which has already received recognition globally, and congratulate NIMC on this notable achievement. Making financial inclusion a reality is central to our business and we look forward to working with NIMC and our other partners to achieve our vision of a cashless, more inclusive, Nigeria,” he added.
The card’s electronic payments capability enables the Government to minimize fraud and corruption, reduce leakages and generate significant savings, as it digitizes cash payments and formalizes the shadow economy.
Using the e-ID as a payments tool, cardholders can deposit funds, save, withdraw cash at ATMs, and pay for goods and services at any of the millions of MasterCard acceptance locations globally or via online shopping portals.
The card also enables citizens to receive funds electronically including government subsidies, social grants, salaries and other disbursements, rather than physically transporting themselves to receive the cash, which is costly, unsafe and inconvenient.
Supported by Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System and CBN, the award recognises the payment product that has effectively expanded financial inclusion and advanced Nigeria’s cashless policy.
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