Home Latest Insights | News The Unification of Debit and NIN Cards Is A Good Policy, But Security Must Be Strong

The Unification of Debit and NIN Cards Is A Good Policy, But Security Must Be Strong

The Unification of Debit and NIN Cards Is A Good Policy, But Security Must Be Strong

This is a nice playbook since the BVN (bank verification number) and NIN (national identity number) are largely converging.  In the real sense of it, the BVN should be phased out since NIN offers at a higher level whatever it provides. Of course, the banks may not like that as they’re not sure of the reliability / uptime of whatever the government will provide.

That explains why this current unification of asking banks to also issue NIN cards makes sense. Yes, the ” Nigerian government is moving to empower banks to issue debit cards that will double as National Identity Cards to Nigerians, following the failure of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to issue the cards to applicants.”

“As in the NIMC Act 2007, section 27, what is mandatory for our citizens and legal residents is the acquiring of the National Identity Number, not the card. However, the card is optional.

“But many citizens, particularly those living in rural communities, always go to NIMC offices complaining that they need the card at hand, even though it’s optional.

“To make it easier, NIMC last year, we introduced a smart ID card you can download from the NIMC app. It is just a smart card. You don’t need to have it physically, but that is becoming difficult for our people living in rural communities,” he said.

That would be a powerful card, with your bank and national ID in it, opening many security components. We must ensure everything is super-secure because failure could be consequential for citizens.

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My Response: The details in the ID should be the same. In other words, your NIN, DOB, etc will be constant. I am not sure it makes sense for people to replicate those across all debit cards. But even if that is the case, it does not invalidate the identity because you’re reprinting the same things just as hotels print multiple cards to the same room. Banks will likely ask to be paid, and that will make people decide NOT to have those across all cards.

Comment on Feed

Comment 1: Well the only reason I see here why NIMC has failed to improve the issuance of NIN from a laminable paper print-out to a more secured chip embedded and durable piece is that they want to it done for profit. Shifting it to commercial Banks is simply another expression of our lack of national security consciousness and greed to exploit the people.

My Response: Zimako Ojukwu I am not sure about that. My understanding is that the law does not allow them to charge and that means they need to have money to print it. With the money voted for this stolen by the minister under OBJ (OBJ wanted to lock him up, and the rumour is that the man died out of depression, etc before trial), NIMC does not have funds to print cards. By using banks which will surely charge, NIMC is avoiding the trap. (Every fee charged under NIMC is illegal as it is designed to be 100% free)

Comment 2: Interestingly, this concept was initially proposed during the implementation of the National Identity Card project by Chams Plc under the Obasanjo regime. While progress was made at the time, the project did not reach its full potential after President Obasanjo left office. Subsequently, the banking sector joined forces and successfully implemented the Bank Verification Number (BVN) system. It is indeed gratifying to see the government revisiting this concept and going back to the drawing board.

I am pleased to share that I was actively involved in both projects before departing. Therefore, I have firsthand experience of the significance and potential impact of integrating debit and National Identity Cards. This approach holds great promise for streamlining identification processes and simplifying the lives of Nigerians.
By combining the functionalities of both cards into a single entity, individuals will no longer need to carry multiple cards, reducing the risk of loss or misplacement. Furthermore, this integration will facilitate smoother transactions and enhance the overall user experience.

My Response: Obasanjo did and envisioned many great things for Nigeria.

Nigerian Government Gives Banks Approval to Print National Identity Cards for Nigerians


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