The GhanaCard

Introduction to the GhanaCard

The need for public and private sector organizations to ensure their security has never been greater. People are looking to the institutions they interact with to guarantee the security of their payments and the privacy of their personal and financial information. In the same vein, businesses are looking to protect their operations, build trust with customers and minimize the risk of financial loss caused by identity theft and financial fraud.

Public and private institutions are increasingly turning to biometrics and secure digital identities endorsed by the state to provide secure, convenient authentication for their employees and customers. As more customers and clients transact high-end business remotely, biometrics and national digital certificates can be used to effectively authenticate individuals for fraud reduction and increased security. Thus the motivation for using biometric identification and e-ID to decrease costs and increase convenience (for both the users and the system managers), while maintain the required level of security.

The National Identification Card (GhanaCard) is a valid verification document issued by the National Identification Authority (NIA) to Ghanaians and permanently resident foreign nationals living everywhere for the purpose of identification. It is the property of the Government of Ghana.

The card bears personal information about the individuals whose identity can be verified at all times. The NIA National Identity System utilizes three types of biometric technology for identification purposes. These are the fingerprints unique to each individual in the form of digitized templates, facial templates in the form of digitized colour photo of the card holder and the Iris.

The NIA deploys cutting-edge technology that incorporates several layers of security features- physical, logical and technical that makes the card difficult to forge and protect the personal information stored on the card. These features allow only authorized persons to read the information and bona fide owners to use the card for purposes of identification.

The card contains basic identification information including a photograph of the card holder, along with a name, date of birth, height, a personal identification number that has been randomly generated and assigned to the holder and has an expiry date.

Depending on the age of the individual, the card will have either a 2-dimensional barcode or a Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) at the back which holds biometric information: the holder’s fingerprints in digitized templates as well as the holder’s signature.

Both citizens and non-citizens have the same ID card. The only distinguishing feature on the cards are the country codes in the Personal Identification Number (PIN) i.e. the PIN for Ghanaians starts with the code “GHA” followed by ten digits “GHA-000000000-0 whilst that for Nigerians for example will read “NRG-000000000-0” per the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) country codes and foreigners card has NON-CITIZEN in bold red on the front of the card.