Zain Cash, UNHCR and IrisGuard collaborate to introduce iris technology for cash disbursements to refugees in Iraq
Aug 30, 2019
• New revolutionary EyePay® Cash platform technology will help expand UNHCR cash assistance to the most vulnerable refugees in Iraq in a blink of an eye
• Currently over 120,000 vulnerable families in Iraq and approximately 30,000 refugees in the country receive cash support via UNHCR
• IrisGuard biometric technology is safe, non-intrusive, efficient and accurate helping to restore dignity and financial inclusion
Baghdad, Iraq: Zain Group, the leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, announces that Zain Cash, its award-winning mobile wallet, money transfer, electronic bill payment, and funds disbursement service in Iraq will introduce a revolutionary EyePay® Cash platform enabling refugees to cash-out their financial assistance via iris identification.
The program has been developed by Zain Cash in partnership with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and IrisGuard, a UK-based electronic payment solutions company and the leading supplier of end-to-end iris recognition biometric technology, to ensure the highest level of protection against fraud and improved accountability in transferring cash assistance to the beneficiaries of UNHCR.
Currently over 120,000 vulnerable families in Iraq and approximately 30,000 refugees in the country receive cash support via UNHCR, with the agency disbursing over US$60 million through its partners in 2018 alone.
The introduction of iris technology for payment of cash assistance will improve identification accuracy, efficiency and speed as it is the most accurate, fast and secure biometric personal identifier available today. Only the entitled refugee will be able to cash-out without any need for any other identification tools, it massively reduces fraud and as such, the much-needed aid is provided to those who it is intended for. It is worth mentioning that UNHCR has in place a high level of security and encryption for its registration data.
A streamlined disbursement process will significantly aid UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations in Iraq who are targeting more than 1 million displaced Iraqis and refugees for cash assistance in 2019.
Ayman Gharaibeh, UNHCR Iraq Representative said, “UNHCR always looks for new and improved technologies that can help enhance protection services to refugees, including cash assistance. We have been utilizing iris scan technology to facilitate assistance in the MENA region - in Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt - and it has proven to be a most effective and efficient channel. Iris scan reinforces the dignity of the beneficiaries ensuring their identity through their iris and thus is fraud free. UNHCR is glad that Zain Cash is taking the lead in rolling out the use of iris scan technology in Iraq in cooperation with IrisGuard.”
Commenting on the adoption of the EyePay® Cash platform in Iraq, Zain Cash CEO, Yazen Altimimi said, “Zain has a strong commitment to the people of Iraq and its residents. We are steadfast in our desire to play an important role in the socio-economic development of this great nation, and as such our collaboration with UNHCR and IrisGuard allows us to return greater dignity, privacy and ensure financial inclusion of vulnerable people throughout Iraq, and we expect the streamlined disbursement of critical cash assistance to those in need will have a marked and immediate positive impact on their lives.”
Imad Malhas, Founder and CEO at IrisGuard commented, “We are proud to be leading the way in providing financial inclusion for vulnerable populations in the blink of an eye. We are delighted to be partnered with Zain Cash and the UNHCR providing a reliable, 100% accurate solution which removes risks, increases beneficiary privacy, improves speed and ultimately ensures that those who need it receive aid faster and in a more secure way.”
By integrating the iris technology in the registration and cash-out of assistance to refugees, the disbursement process is set to become more streamlined and secure and quick in comparison to the previous process which took over 15 days.
The on-boarding process for iris biometric capture is fast and simple - the IrisGuard imager captures a greyscale image of the iris, converting it to a reliable and permanent Unique Verifiable Identity (UVI) that is used for cross-matching purposes. IrisGuard’s EyePay® Phone is the first of its kind; and capable of authenticating identity on a global scale within 3 seconds. This new smartphone combines IrisGuard’s expertise in iris recognition technology with mobile capability, providing the world’s only one to millions iris comparison in real-time.
IrisGuard was founded in 2001 and is a UK-based electronic payment solutions company and the leading supplier of end-to-end iris recognition biometric technology for large-scale deployments, focused on managing trusted human identity requirements for large populations.
Zain Cash was launched in late 2015 by Zain and Iraq Wallet, allowing users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services via their mobile phone. The service was subsequently chosen by UNHCR as a disbursement mechanism for refugees in Iraq.
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