How Biometric Technology Helps FINCA Reach Nigeria’s Unbanked

How do most Nigerians access a savings account? For more than half of Nigerian adults and 65% of Nigerian women, the answer is – they don’t.

Banks typically require customers to provide formal identification, pay monthly account maintenance fees, and pay for the bank card used to access the account. Barriers like these have left over 50 million Nigerian adults without access to basic financial services. Through the support of MasterCard Worldwide, FINCA is removing these barriers to access and putting the power to save in the hands of our clients.

Since its launch in December 2014, FINCA Microfinance Bank Limited in Nigeria has enrolled nearly 10,000 clients in biometric-enabled banking. When a client opens a savings account with FINCA, she provides a digital scan of her fingerprint. Any time she transacts at a FINCA location, she can access her account by scanning her finger on a biometric-enabled Point-of-Service (POS) device. From there, she can make her loan repayment, or deposit, withdrawal or transfer funds. This simple but high-tech solution, coupled with hassle-free account opening requirements and no transaction fees, makes FINCA’s financial services accessible to all, allowing for easy and secure transactions for our clients.

Clients in Nigeria are adapting to the new technology well.

“For me, it is safer for withdrawal because I use the thumbprint which no one can use to access my account,” said Joel Eze, a client in Nigeria.

Ogbanna Nze, a client who uses the POS device to make deposits, finds the technology “reliable and effective,” even when other network services are spotty and down.

These clients join the hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners across FINCA’s six African subsidiaries who currently use biometric enabled banking services.