IrisGuard awarded for humanitarian solution
30 November 2015 10:50 GMT

Biometrics firm IrisGuard has won an “Industry Contributor Award” for an ATM-based solution it has developed for providing welfare payments to Syrian refugees.

IrisGuard was awarded at the Payments Awards summit in London for its humanitarian EyeBank project, which is the world’s largest Iris deployment intended to provide financial inclusion services.

The EyeBank solution integrates natively with conventional Retail banking systems from acquiring, issuing and processing banks in conjunction with payment service providers and core banking software platforms in addition to complex UN agencies registration and management systems. 

EyeBank is currently being extended with the platform in local supermarkets at checkout counters.

Today, there are millions of displaced Syrian refugees living in camps and urban areas in difficult conditions, host nations include Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. To-date over 1.8 million refugees have already been enrolled; a testimony of IrisGuard leadership, competencies and innovative scalable technology.

IrisGuards’ technology is a single biometric modality authorizing Syrian refugees to withdraw cash subsidies on ATM’s safely and conveniently without a PIN or Card, uniquely on the sole premise of presenting their eye to iris enabled regional banks ATM’s in Jordan and across neighbouring countries. The Syrian crisis is the world’s first ever cross-border iris enabled humanitarian relief registration and financial inclusion program and the world’s first to dispense cash on ATM’s without a PIN or Card.

According to UN officials “the System is 98% efficient with a 2% operational fee attributed to the banks for the service. For a cash assistance program this is unprecedented and needs to be highlighted.”

Recent studies have illustrated that humanitarian assistance is more effective, more efficient and more transparent when aid is given in the form of cash or vouchers directly to refugees struggling to survive.  Donner nations appreciate in particularly the trust factor our systems provide and the confidence that the funds allocated (cash at ATMs or food in supermarkets) are distributed to the intended Syrian refugee community with minimal overhead and zero fraud or misappropriation of funds.

“Cash is also far cheaper to distribute. America’s government has estimated that transport and other overheads eat up 65% of spending on emergency food aid. Aid in cash goes much further. Nearly 20% more people could have been helped at no extra cost if everyone received cash instead of food, according to a study of aid in Ecuador, Niger, Uganda and Yemen by researchers then at the International Food Policy Research Institute.”(Economist Oct2015)

Speaking at the award, Joe O’Carroll, Senior Vice President said, "On behalf of everyone at IrisGuard, we are greatly honored to receive this prestigious award. Tonight our thoughts go out to the millions of displaced Syrian refugees that rely on timely international financial assistance to survive and we will continue to serve the various United Nations organizations in providing humanitarian financial inclusion and cash payment systems in the most dignified manner.”

“The Syrian crisis is the world’s first ever cross-border iris enabled humanitarian relief registration and financial inclusion program”, explains Mr. Malhas, CEO of IrisGuard. “To have enrolled over 1.6 million refugees so far is a testimony of IrisGuard leadership, competencies and innovative technology. We are sincerely grateful to have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of refugees at these difficult times.”

Tony Craddock, CEO of the Emerging Payments Awards commented, “IrisGuard is a great example of how innovations in payments can make a meaningful difference to people’s lives. As the industry continues to develop new technology, innovations and partnerships, I feel sure that we will see more payments solutions of this kind.”

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