Debit card in Nigeria now comes with the added feature of an NIN card

The Federal Government has said that Nigerians can now request their commercial banks to issue them with a debit card that doubles as their national identity card at no extra cost.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, who disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja, said the approval was obtained at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He explained that the approval followed a memo from the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) allowing banks to print multipurpose debit cards that double as national identity cards. According to Pantami, although the NIMC Act of 2007 only mandates Nigerians to have a National Identity Number and not necessarily a printed card, demands for cards have swelled nonetheless.

“It is going to be a form of the multipurpose card where it will serve as your national identity card on one hand and also your bank card on the other hand, either Mastercard, Visa, or any other kind of card.”

“As it is in the NIMC Act 2007, Section 27, what is mandatory for our citizens and legal residents is the acquisition 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 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.”

To ease the difficulty, Pantami said NIMC had partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria so that citizens who are interested in having a card at hand can easily go to the relevant banks. According to him, the bank is permitted to print the card along with either a Mastercard or Visa card.

“It is going to be a form of a multipurpose card that will serve as your national identity card on one hand and also your bank card on the other. And based on the agreement, it is without any additional cost to our citizens.

“So when you apply for a card at your bank, you can indicate that ‘I want this card to serve multiple purposes where it will serve as my bank card and also my national identity card’. Both of them are going to be printed on the same card, and it is going to serve the same purposes without any additional costs,” the minister added.

The Nigerian Communications Commission came up with a proposal that will enhance the implementation of the policy and bring many more benefits to it.

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