Smart Cards – Financial Inclusion

2 billion people above 20 years of age do not own a bank account


Value propositions

World-wide more than 2 billion people above 20 years of age do not have their own bank-account.  Providing these individuals with cost-efficient, secure and convenient ways to perform financial transactions is an important pre-requisite for economic growth.  Governments and major enterprises around the world now target to bring modern payment systems into vast un-banked, cash-based economies in Asia, Africa and South-America.

A large part of the 2 billion people cannot afford a fingerprint feature smart phone. Introduction of secure, sensor based smart cards will not only help grow underdeveloped economies it will also significantly reduce  cash-related fraud troubling these markets.

Replacing cash  with bank accounts (cards) is within itself a major contributor to reduction of crime. Further improving this with sensors proving the presence of the account owner has a significant impact.  Today, as an example, it is in many countries estimated that as much as 25-30% of government benefits distributed are lost to criminals with fake identities, multiple identities, duplicated cards etc.

The value propositions of such financial inclusion are thus very strong, creating a highly attractive value for all parties involved including governments, the payment industry, the smart card industry and the card end users.

Key requirements

This application is thus security focused and must be able to serve very close to 100% of the targeted users. Furthermore a significant percentage of the cards will be used in challenging environments both in terms of average finger quality and environmental conditions.  In order to be relevant, testing  for such markets need to be at level with the Aadhaar testing regimes in India (Class 3).

The application typically demands one-touch-enrollment organised with large sized sensors in dedicated manned enrollment centres storing prints in databases making sure that each person can only register once…  This both to ensure very high quality of the enrolled prints and also to avoid fraudulent duplicate cards.  Multiple placements of fingers with subsequent stitching back to a full sized enrollments is unrealistic in this quality critical application (see stitching).

Enrolled prints (or print templates) will be stored according to iso-standards allowing storage in centralized databases, minimizing the risk of fraud and allowing prints to be used by multiple sensor suppliers (see interoperability)Major governmental and financial industry customers will not allow the financial or logistical risks of having a single source, proprietary system suppliers. Today, all known competing small and medium sized sensor systems are based on propprietary (non-standard) solutions.

Being security focused (targeting to fight fraud), the application will not be allowed to offer any convenient pin-code or password fallback. The number of false rejections will thus need to be very low as the fallback solution at malfunction will typically be a visit to a public office.

A significant part of the requirements of this application demands a  large (minimum 169 mm2) sized sensor.

Fundamental requirements

These features are all critically important to customer project successComment:
– Ability to serve close to 100% of the targeted usersSIZE dependent
– Uncompromised security (False Acceptance Rate 1 in 10-100 k)SIZE dependent
– Time-constant convenience (False Rejection Rate < 1%-2%)SIZE dependent
– Full physical flexibilityStandards compliance
– Power consumption compatible with Class A, B contact readers
– Realistic system level pricing (card, enrollment process, systems)See enrollment

Important features

These features may be subject to some compromises, but are still are all important to project success.Comment:
– Ability to serve Class 3 testing regime marketsSIZE dependent
– Interoperability enrolled prints (non-proprietary solution)SIZE dependent
– Logistical capability to serve 50 mill + yearly market
– Full ISO-complianceSIZE dependent


Related products:

SolutionActive sensing areaInterfaceSoftware/drivers
NB-0610-S Chipset11.9 x 17.9mmSPISelect embedded microprocessors


The un-banked world
2 billion people above 20 years of age do not own a bank account
Huge levels of fraud
In some countries 20-30% of government benfits distributed is lost to fraud
Maximum average level of false rejections allowed in harsh outdoor/ challenging environment testing in India Aadhaar certification.
Huge market share
It is estimated that more than half the biometric payment cards sold will be in the «financial inclusion segment).
Key requirements
Uncompromised security, high convenience, in harsh environments for close to 100% of the users.
This segment can only be served by sensors meeting the ISO-requirement of 169 mm² minimum sensor area