Rwanda :MobiCash Fingerprint Banking
Patrick Gordon Ngabonziza
Group Chief Executive Officer
JANUARY 7, 2013
Strengthening the Financial Sector using Biometrics.
The Rwandan government has ambitious goals, as part of its Vision 2020 plan, to bring financial services to the majority of the population. MobiCash is supporting Rwanda in its mission and will help deliver programs and technologies that extend access to financial services for people throughout the country.
Since 1995 Rwandan Government has taken steps to deepen and liberalize the financial sector. Efforts are underway to improve the links between the financial system and the masses. Restructuring plans have been agreed between the BNR and the commercial banks.
A legal framework for micro finance institutions has been considered and are to be restructured so as to enhance their role in providing services to rural areas and in encouraging savings mobilization. Commercial banks are being encouraged to concentrate more on financing private sector activities in particular productive sectors including small scale projects. Government is also considering directing credit to particular sectors for instance agriculture which currently only receives 2% of bank credit.
The launch of the BioCash initiative is part of national efforts to ensure the Government achieved "an optimal balance between the banked and the unbanked. The system will lay a basis for KCB Bank to jointly deal a massive and decisive blow against the financial inclusion and poverty alleviation.
The excitement on this new delivery channel is due to the promise to bring about a breakthrough of major importance into the mobile payment ecosystem. BioCash offers the possibility of massive outreach to people in locations that remain underserved, especially those in hard-to-reach rural areas. Some channels, including retail agents such as supermarkets, churches or drug stores that act as banking agents, may bring the industry closer to significantly serving more Rwandan with or without a mobile phone.
This is the beginning of a fundamental change in the monetary system in Rwanda. The implementation of fingerprint-banking means that every Rwandan who is over 16 years old and has a national-ID could virtually and instantly be included in the financial space and connect fingerprint to a virtual bank account.
But how does fingerprint-banking work exactly?
All monetary transactions can be done exclusively with the account owner’s fingerprint without the need of cash or any card.
The fingerprint reader recognizes the identity of a person and connects it to the according bank account.
All shops will be provided with fingerprint readers. This assures the easy usage of fingerprint-banking. At shopping, you only need to leave your fingerprint to pay, without entering a code or giving a signature. That’s easy and fast.
This method allows a safer, easier, faster and more efficient paying process. MobiCash expects the rate of robberies to decline drastically since people don’t carry any more cash or credit cards with them. Also, it is much easier for the consumers: they don’t have to worry about having cash with them or remembering their debit card code. Especially for shops it is very efficient. They save a lot of time on the cash desk when they don’t have to handle with cash or debit card readers which take a long time to complete a paying process.
In our opinion, Rwanda will be definitely World first country using this system to bank all of its citizens without exception.
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