The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has launched an iris scan payment system in Jordanian supermarkets.
The technology has been set up to enable Syrian refugees staying in migrant camps to conduct purchases at local shops using their eyes instead of cards, cash, or vouchers.
With a wink of an eye refugees at King Abdullah Park camp made their first purchases at a local supermarket on Tuesday, as part of the new program designed to simplify the redeeming of their monthly UN food aid. Developed by partners of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) the system is now being used by the WFP.
— World Food Programme (@WFP) February 17, 2016
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.
If the new payment initiative proves to be successful, WFP hopes to expand its use to all migrant camps in Jordan during the coming months, and potentially to areas outside of the camps later in the year.
The iris scan system for ATM withdrawals was introduced last spring, providing for more efficient and secure operations for the thousands of refugees living in Jordan.