IFC to support IrisGuard ePayment solution deployment for financial inclusion of Syrian refugees
World Bank Group member IFC and IrisGuard have announced an agreement to expand the reach of iris-based e-payment solutions to increase financial inclusion of Syrian refugees in Jordan and the region.
IrisGuard will develop and deploy new iris recognition point-of-sale devices throughout Jordan and the region with the support of IFC. More than 2.3 million Syrian refugees in the region have been registered so far, making them eligible to use selected ATMs or pay for goods at participating stores through iris recognition. The United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) has enrolled 650,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan using IrisGuard technology.
“Many people in the MENA region do not have access to a traditional bank account to access benefits, save money, or make payments, which is why IFC has been supporting new and innovative payment systems like IrisGuard. Our technology has the potential to help lift vulnerable beneficiaries out of poverty and contribute to accelerating economic development throughout the region,” said Imad Malhas, Managing Director and co-founder of IrisGuard.
Traditional methods of distributing assistance to refugees can result in losses of up to 20 percent, with identity theft and corruption problems, according to the announcement. IrisGuard has received contracts from the UNHCR and the World Food Programme to distribute aid in Jordan, as well as soon in neighbouring countries.
As previously reported, the UNHCR began using IrisGuard’s Etheruem blockchain technology to deliver humanitarian aid payments to Syrian refugees last year.