What are the Best Biometric Devices for last mile digital services in Africa?

Best biometric devices for last mile services in Africa

According to the World Bank, more than one billion people in the world – almost half of these living in Sub-Saharan Africa – have no proof of legal identification.

The lack of identification is an issue that affects not only individuals, that struggle to access basic services such as financial and telecommunication services, but also Governments and private sector companies that have trouble delivering services efficiently.

These struggles amplify the gap of exclusion in the emerging markets.

So, how can we close this gap?

Biometrics took an important role in promoting financial inclusion in emerging markets, by giving opportunities for digital services delivery and at the same time ensure security is maintained.

Using Biometrics for KYC ensures the security of digital services delivery in the last mile

In many African countries, this is a compliance requirement.

By using Biometrics for KYC (Know Your Customer), you can get new customers quickly and according to the mandatory requirements, as a standard to guarantee the operating and sale license.

Service companies, such as Banks or Telcos, use biometric registration integrated with the KYC process.

What should you consider when choosing biometric hardware?

To make the most of the advantages biometric identification gives you, you must choose the right biometric devices. 

When you’re planning to use biometric hardware, you can choose from a variety of biometric characteristics that suit the needs of your business and the mandatory legal requirements of the country.  

Usually, there are two major types of Biometrics categories: 

  • Biological: fingerprints, face, etc. 
  • Behavioral: signature, keystroke dynamics, gait, voice, etc. 

Nevertheless, the best biometrics hardware is the one that’s prepared for the field operation needs:

These devices must be prepared for the reality of the African context: the absence of modern facilities and infrastructure where you can recharge the devices, or some things so simple as the dust and sunlight that might affect the function of the devices’ screens.  

It’s recommended that the devices are portablerobust and resistant. These are important characteristics you should look for in biometric hardware. 

Also, beware that some processes require certified devices

An excellent example is the case of Nigeria, where the biometric system is expected to improve access to government services, so all Biometric Hardware needs to be approved by NIMC (National Identity Management Commission).

The biometric information capture and transmission are standardized across all the partners and users of the NIMC’s system. This way, the government and commercial providers can authenticate the identity at the time of service delivery.

The process of registration for the National Identity Number (NIN), created by NIMC, collects biometric data from Nigerian citizens.

In the Telecommunications Industry, as a compliance rule, SIM Cards need to be linked to the NIN. So the biometric hardware you choose must be ready for NIN Registration Process if your activity involves the sale of SIM Cards and related products.

Our Best Biometric Devices for Financial Services and Telcos in Africa

As we have seen, there are lots of things to consider when choosing to use biometric hardware, from its uses, capabilities and certifications.

Within these specificities, we present our best options of Biometric Devices for last-mile digital services in Africa:


Columbo Biometric Fingerprint

As mentioned, the biometric hardware of your choice must be ready for the environment it will be used in.

Unlike other biometric devices, Columbo uses an electrical band instead of a mirror to capture the biometric fingerprint, which makes it more resistant to direct sunlight and the dust won’t be an inconvenience to the fingerprint reading.

Portable and with easy maintenance, this option is the best when it comes to energy-saving since it only consumes while the fingerprint is scanning and you can recharge it via USB.

This option is the best in terms of live proving since this device captures the electricity of the finger with a light and it detects dead, fake, and rubber fingers.

The fact that it works with electricity is also beneficial against COVID-19. The electricity produced in the act of touching the fingerprint scanner automatically kills the virus.

Kojak PL

Kojak biometric device

Kojak, an FBI Appendix F Certified FAP 60 fingerprint scanner, is the official device for the BVN enrollment and NIN registration processes in Nigeria.

This is the most demanded device for the African context.

An innovative and compact solution designed with the African context in mind.

The highly portable Kojak fingerprint scanner can be used on both Android and Windows platforms to capture 10 fingerprints of the subject enrolled.

Its features illustrate its portability: It uses a USB connection only, with no need of a power plug (plug-and-play power connectivity).

And the IP65 rating for dust and water-resistant, sunlight resistance along with other fundamental characteristics boost field operations for agent channels.

The Kojak PL experience for enrollment operations in Nigeria speaks of itself as several agents and banks have praised its speed, accuracy and compactness.


The Combo is an all-in-one device, highly recommended for Financial Services, that runs on Android and it’s currently certified by NIMC for NIN Enrollment.

This device is a solution with all components to enable several functionalities, combining the Kojak, which is dust and water-resistant and a Tablet with two powerful cameras and a mobile printer.

The tablet allows you to perform face capture and scan documents during the Digital KYC process, and also use multiple agent apps for financial and non-financial operations.

This disruptive technology contains a 15,000mAH battery powering the tablet, so it can run through an entire day in the field.

The Combo continues to be the most desirable device for agent channels searching for an option of operating in a fixed location or in multiple locations due to its mobility.

You can learn more about these devices here.

The Sucess Case of CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), like many countries in Africa, was struggling with account security challenges, across all industries, with passwords and PINs failing, leading to increased fraud.

As a response to this, the CBN created the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), which launched the Bank Verification Number (BVN) initiative, a centralized biometric identification system for the Banks and other Financial Institutions operating in Nigeria.

Papersoft participation in the selection of the official device

To drive the BVN initiative to the next level, PapersoftWaynbo’s developer – was challenged by 5 Thousand Miles, a company specialized in international business development, to present suitable solutions to this case.

After analysis of the on-field challenges, Integrated Biometrics (IB) products proved to be clearly the best solution.

NIBSS selected IB’s Kojak PL, certifying it as the official hardware for the BVN initiative in Nigeria

The BVN enrollment process uses demographic and biometric data, including fingerprints, signatures, and facial recognition, to create digital identities for bank customersand to perform banking operations such as transactions, payments, cash withdrawals or applying for a loan, customers need the BVN to authenticate their identity. 

With this solution, enrollment becomes simpler, fast, and it’s required only one time. Once enrolled, the individual’s BVN is linked to all bank accounts across all Nigerian banks.  

Are you still not sure which device you should choose?

We can help you choose the best biometric equipment for your business.

You can submit all your questions and we’ll contact you back to discuss the best option for your company needs.

Companies we already helped
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