The Transfer process in Cash Transfer Programs is often executed through manual and electronic mechanisms; however, recent evidence of the implementation of both has demonstrated that they share similar challenges to ensure transparency and efficiency in the process. Examples of such challenges are problems with the identification of transfer receivers, recurrent reports of fraud through identity theft, inability of beneficiaries to understand the amount to be received and confirmation of the amount received, as well as use of witnesses to oversee the process, which also implies higher costs.

Ayala Consulting considers that piloting ground-breaking identification methods and tools could address such issues and challenges. Thus, along with its partners, the company has developed the Bio Transfer Unit which is a set of devices to enrol and identify beneficiaries through iris recognition for payment. As the iris presents complex patterns that are unique to an individual and is the most stable and durable out of all physical characteristics, iris recognition is a suitable method that guarantees its sustainability to identify users. This tool has been developed specifically to tackle problems evidenced in the field when the transfer mechanisms are in use. It will assist transfer agents to carry out the Transfer process in a transparent manner and without paper lists, assistance of witnesses or district officials.



The Bio Transfer Unit is comprised of a set of devices used to swiftly scan the irises of beneficiaries through the  Unit, and instantly match them with beneficiary information contained in the program’s Management Information System through a unique identifier. Its Verification Unit allows irises to be recognised, codified, searched for in the database, to then indicate the transfer amount to be handed over to the transfer receiver. The amount is displayed on the screen and also reproduced by the speaker. At the end of the transfer process, the information is uploaded into the MIS and it can be exported for reconciliation purposes as well as to facilitate the creation of reports.


Ayala Consulting intends to pilot the Bio Transfer Unit in two districts currently benefitted by the Social Cash Transfer Program in Malawi with assistance from the selected Officials from the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare. This joint work will allow them to go through on-the-job training to become familiar with the tool and process and then be able to replicate it in the future.