Pakistan launches ‘revolutionary’ contactless biometric verification for banking

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ISLAMABAD – The National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) have jointly launched a contactless biometric verification system for the banking industry.

NADRA Chairman Tariq Malik announced the development on Twittering calling it “revolutionary”. He added, “Rapid onboarding #eKYC branchless banking #FinancialInclusion -now just a scan away!”

“The new secure platform powered by #NADRA has endless potential,” he said, adding that the service is initially extended to five banks nominated by the central bank for “pilot run”.

“They [banks] will make their mobile Apps using this platform,” the NADRA chief added.

The development has made Pakistan one of the first countries in the world to implement this Technology at National Level.

Other banks and fully SBP licensed EMIs, after completion of necessary formalities will also be included in the pilot run. Once the pilot is completed, this service will be extended to all Banks/EMIs.

The Banks in Pakistan will make use of the digital App on smart phones capturing and verifying biometrics of the potential account holders from their homes. With the introduction of this digital technology the Banking system will take paradigm shift adding remote biometric capturing technology to digital banking system.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Reza Baqir, Governor State Bank said, “This new mobile based verification service for banks and Electronic Money Institutions is in line with SBP’s financial inclusion initiative while creating opportunity for rapid on-boarding using remote identification and e-KYC features”.

He added “early adoption of this new technology has endless potential to reach towards under serviced population while it extends a great benefit to financial sector as it will reduce the operational costs, aiding in releasing pressure on Banks who have been negatively impacted during this Pandemic”.

On the occasion, Tariq Malik Chairman NADRA said, “We are addressing the need of the hour during this on-going pandemic. This new technology makes contactless fingerprint acquisition and matching possible using a smart mobile phone, providing an alternative to conventional methods of conducting digital financial transactions that may require specialized equipment or visits to Bank Branches/Franchises.

NADRA is proud to maintain its reputation for introducing niche technological trends in country. It is another step towards our aim of creating a robust National ID Eco System in Pakistan”

Banks have started development work to utilize this new service launched by NADRA last week.

NADRA will also be providing this service to the Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs) as well as branchless banking providers. Capitalizing on NADRA’s innovative product, the banks and EMIs are likely to start offering new digital banking services to its customers whereby bank customers will be able to

open bank accounts and wallets and conduct biometric based financial transactions using their Mobile Phone Cameras from the ease of their homes.

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