Biometric Enrolment Software and System Integration Services for National Entitlement Program for Iraq

Introduction

International Smart Card (ISC) (semi government) is a Joint Venture formed in 2007 between the Iraqi government and private investors. The shareholding distribution as follows:

  • Rafidain Bank 15% (Largest Government Bank).
  • Rasheed Bank 15% (Second largest government Bank).
  • Iraqi Electronic Payment System (Private) 70%.

ISC started its operation in 2008.

ISC’s flagship product is Qi Card, the first international standard card used in providing payment services in the financial sector of Iraq. Qi card is similar to other credit cards recognized worldwide with the difference that the Qi smart card deals with balances without direct contact with the banking server in an offline mode to facilitate business in regions where there is poor telecommunication infrastructure.

The Central Bank of Iraq has licensed ISC to carry out the following : -

  • Manage Financial and administrative processes on behalf of the Iraqi Government.
  • Credit and Debit Cards Management.
  • Money Transfer and Exchange.
  • Micro Finance.

Based on its status and being a partner with the Government it is subject to Rules, regulations and regular audit by the State Audit Bureau, State Financial Accounting Authority and the Central Bank of Iraq.

Challenges

Initially the Qi Card system was developed by a South African Company called NetOne. This company carried out the de-duplication of enrolled applicants and also integrated the system with the banks. However after the launch of the Qi Card, the system faced a lot of challenges in as duplicate payments, false rejections to real beneficiary was on the increase causing doubts about the entire program. Consequently after failing to rectify the numerous faults that came to light in the system, ISC decided to t replace the system with a new one after one and a half year of operation, till that time, almost 3.5 million persons had been issued with a smart card after enrolment of their Biometrics and other relevant data.

 ISC decided to form a consortium of six different companies, SecureTech Consultancy was assigned the task of the backend Database and the front-end enrolment application, and additionally we were also assigned the task of project management

Following were the challenges:

  • Migration of the Old Database (which was in files) into new Suggested Structure designed by Secure Tech Consultancy.
  • Integration with AFIS Server.
  • Integration with the Payment Gateway.
  • Integration with IRIS.
  • Smart Card integration and issuance of the smart card duly digitalized with the account number, two best fingerprint templates, IRIS image, facial Image and given to the applicant immediately after enrolment.
  • A document management system of all scanned documents like Civil affairs ID card, Passport, Proof of address, proof of citizenship, ration card, employment document or any other additional document required to be saved.
  • A two-tier pension verification system with the additional super validator in place.

Solution

Secure Tech Consultancy has provided an end to end Biometric enabled credit card payment system, for International Smart Card, a private company in Iraq that has been given the contract for the distribution of Government grants, pensions, poverty alleviation programs etc through two government banks. The customer payment is through agents spread over the entire country having biometric enabled POS terminals. The authenticity required for payment of the correct amount to the right individual is resolved by enrolment of personal data with Fingerprints, IRIS and Facial for all beneficiaries and bank account holders. Payment is done through a smart (country specific) debit card that is biometric enabled to work with the POS. Payment is processed after biometric authentication. Savings to the customer is in Millions each year with customer satisfaction. Phase 1 solution is already being delivered successfully and we are now going for phase 2 solutions that will include SMS, Crowd and Appointment Management Control, ICAO standard facial enrolment etc. The system has been deployed nationwide across 110 geographically dispersed locations in Iraq.

The Iraqi Project entailed system integration involving the AFIS supplier Dermalog from Germany, the Payment Gateway company S2M from Morocco, the smart cards were given by Austria Card, the IRIS was supplied by LG IRIS of USA, the facial camera was also from USA, the chip was supplied by Ingenico of Germany and the a Scottish company’s EECebs Operating System (OS) was used in the smart chip. Whereas SecureTech was tasked to make the complete software for the enrolment with complete biometrics, that is Fingerprint, IRIS and facial. A document management system, a verification system, digitalization of the smart card with hash encryption has also being developed. A central database that is connected to both the payment system and the AFIS. The AFIS was located in Germany whereas the payment system was located in Morocco and the central server is cloud based.

Secure Tech Consultancy was not only the system integrator but also the project manager of this highly complex project that had so many companies each interdependent of the other for the completion of this project. Alhamdulillah we successfully integrated all the components and the project is now successfully operational since the last two years.

Features

  • Enrolment of all personnel with the relevant data including biometrics picture, fingerprint and iris with a three-tier authentication.
  • Smart Card Issuance to the Persons.
  • Verification of the user fingerprint on the time of authentication and authorization
  • Verification of the person’s fingerprint while doing any updated or new card issuance to the person.
  • 3 tiers of the validation of the person’s data.

Conclusion

Alhamdulillah a challenging project that was completed within time. The system is working to the entire satisfaction of the customer since the last 4 years.