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Interswitch, Precise Biometrics invest N.04bn in fingerprint recognition

By Babajide Komolafe
Interswitch has entered into a strategic partnership with Precise Biometrics to supply fingerprint recognition with Precise Match-on-Card to bank applications. The partnership is already engaged in a first project, which will provide license sales at a minimum of   N42, 000,000 in 2009.

Through this partnership, Precise Biometrics and Interswitch aim at building and promoting biometric Match-on-Card solutions for the banking segment in Africa. The solutions will initially target Nigeria, which is the largest populated country in Africa with more than 150 million inhabitants.

Recall that Nigeria banks are migrating from magstripe cards to the more secure chip cards in order to gradually eliminate the incidence of magstripe fraud in the banking sector. The new chip and PIN cards comply with global EMV standards and government had given the banks a deadline to replace all magstripe cards with chip-based smart cards by June 2009.

To enable banks migrate faster, Interswitch introduced the Verve card into the market. The Verve card has both international and local security features, and now Interswitch’s partnership with Precise Biometrics affords it the opportunity to provide finger print recognition and Match-on-Card features on its card offering Verve.

These features will further ensure that bonafide cardholders can make card present and offline transactions. With fingerprint recognition and Match-on-Card, banks, governments and organizations can increase internal security through personnel verification and KYE (Know Your Employee).

Mr. Mitchell Elegbe, MD/CEO, Interswitch, in a statement said, “Interswitch is pleased to enter into this partnership, as Precise Biometrics is the leading provider of biometric Match-on-Card solutions and we believe that our joint efforts and technological know-how will have great commercial potential in the West African region”.

According to Elegbe, unlike existing biometric solutions, which due to fluctuations in power and communications, do not accurately match fingerprints on network devices, external servers or databases, Precise’s Match-On-Card solution works seamlessly to ensure to eliminate this problem. He added that Interswitch decided to collaborate with Precise Biometrics because of the potential to jointly provide accurate payment identification and authentication solutions in Nigeria.

Mr. Thomas Marshall, CEO, Precise Biometrics, comments that, “We are very pleased to have come to an agreement with Interswitch which will place Precise Biometrics in a prime position to capture the rising biometric opportunities within the financial sector of West Africa.  The partnership is strengthened by our ongoing National ID card projects and we have substantial commercial expectations for the partnership in 2010 and onwards.”

Interswitch is the leading provider of electronic transaction switching and payment processing in Nigeria and also one of the prime contractors for the National ID card in the country. Major shareholders in the company are a number of African banks, and Interswitch management and staff.  Interswitch is also an established Gemalto partner.

Precise Match-on-Card is in the process of storing and matching fingerprint information on a smart card to establish the physical presence of an individual. As the fingerprint information does not leave the card, there is no need for database or online communication, and the cardholder’s integrity is preserved.


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