Nigeria and Integrated Biometrics Collaborate for Bank Verification System - Identity Review | Global Tech Think Tank - Identity Review | Global Tech Think Tank

Created to make the Nigerian banking system more efficient, the government of Nigeria, alongside Integrated Biometrics (IB), have registered customers in the Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) with unique bank verification numbers—BVNs. The number can be recognized by every bank in the country.

The Impetus for IB’s Technology

Often, banks use traditional means to differentiate their customers within a highly complex, saturated system. Numbers like PINs, for instance, and simple passwords to access secure data are relied on. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, those means of security simply did not cut it anymore when it came to preventing fraud in a modern era, when more than 70% of data breaches are financially motivated.

Behind the Technology

The Central Bank of Nigeria and the Interbank Settlement System collaborated to find a way to ensure their consumers’ data was less susceptible to fraud. They came to the conclusion that biometrics was their safest and best option by a long shot.

After receiving a recommendation from the financial software specialist Papersoft and its local partner Global Accelerex, the consortium of Nigerian banks chose to use IB’s Kojak PL 10-Print roll scanner to register Nigerian citizens into the program. The scanner is an FBI-certified FAP 60 with a notably lightweight design.

With over 5,000 individual scanners deployed, the government sets out to register about 41 million residents by March 2021.

IB Looking Forward

In 2019, Integrated Biometrics opened an office in South Africa to increase its presence and permanence in the African market. It joined private companies and public institutions alike in celebrating Nigeria’s National Identity Day—September 16th—and has publicly encouraged the United Nations to recognize Identity Day as a national holiday.

Alongside the biometrically-based system for banks, Nigeria plans to use a $433 million grant from the World Bank to develop its own national identity scheme also based on biometrics.

As for IB, the company has donated some of its Kojak scanners to Santander Mexico for beta use.


Olivia Baker is a Tech Innovation Fellow at Identity Review from Columbia University, where she writes on tech policy and national digital identity technologies.

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