Syrian Refugees Pay via Iris Scanning

Posted By on March 1, 2016

In Syrian Refugees Pay via Iris Scanning we look at when UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi visited an iris scanning identification programme during a visit to Jordan, where about 85 percent of the 630,000 Syrian refugee live in cities.

The secure biometric programme ensures that the most needy receive the cash assistance they need much faster and more easily, allowing them to pay for food and rent.

Anybody who is registered can be assisted, at the moment we are assisting 40,000 families. And the registered are around 150,000 families. We can actually assist all of those in two days.

85% of the 630,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan are urban refugees. Officially they can’t work but still must pay for food and rent. The update to UNHCR’s system will help the neediest among these people get the special cash assistance they need much more quickly and simply.

The project uses the EyeBank product created by iris specialist firm IrisGuard that uses the UN Refugee Agency’s biometric registration to identify the recipient of virtual funds. Once the eye has been scanned the system pulls the data on a particular individual from UNHCR’s registration database, before relaying the transaction to the Jordan Ahli Bank using the Middle East Payment System (MEPS). Once confirmed the funds are deducted from the refugee’s monthly allowance before the purchase receipt is printed.


Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.

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