05:58 GMT +314 December 2019
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    Jordan: Iris Scanning Program In Action

    UN Program Uses Eye-Scanning to Provide Refugees With Cash

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    The United Nations began using iris-scanning technology to distribute benefits to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, and is planning to expand the system.

    The United Nations' World Food Programme began using eye-scanning technology from a company called IrisGuard to distribute cash payments and benefits to Syrian refugees in in Jordan.

    Some 85 percent of Syrian refugees in Jordan are not allowed to work, but are still expected to pay for food and rent. The United Nations' High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) initiated the program to simplify payments procedures.

    "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," UNHCR Assistant Field Officer Hia Azaizeh said.

    ​Since iris scanning provides a secure way to provide benefits through a non-invasive procedure, it has become widely used for both distributing cash payments and making purchases.

    To make payments, refugees scan their eye in stores, which is linked to their payment card through the Middle East Payment Systems (MEPS), which then handles the transaction through the Jordan Ahli Bank.

    The World Food Programme seeks to expand the system to all refugees in Jordan to food and rent assistance within several months.

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    Tags:
    iris scan, refugees, UN World Food Program (WFP), UN, Syria, Jordan
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