Nadra launches contactless biometric check administration for banking

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ISLAMABAD: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has launched contactless biometric verification services for the banking and payments industry, making Pakistan one of the primary countries within the world to implement the technology on a national level.

The service was launched during a visit by depository financial institution of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Dr. Reza Baqir to the Nadra headquarters here on Thursday.

Banks will make use of the digital app on smartphones capturing and verifying biometrics of the potential account holders from their homes. With the introduction of this digital technology, the banking industry will take a paradigm shift, adding remote biometric capturing technology to the digital banking industry.

The service is initially extended to 5 banks nominated by the SBP for a pilot program. Other banks and fully SBP-licensed EMIs (Electronic Money Institutions), after completion of necessary formalities, also will be included within the pilot run. Once the pilot is completed, this service shall be extended to all or any banks/EMIs, said a news release issued on Thursday.

The SBP governor 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 onboarding using remote identification and e-KYC features.”

He added: “Early adoption of this new technology has endless potential to succeed in towards underserviced population while it extends an excellent benefit to the financial sector because it will reduce the operational costs, aiding in releasing pressure on banks which are negatively impacted during this pandemic.”

In his address, Nadra Chairman Tariq Malik said: “We are addressing the necessity of the hour during this ongoing pandemic. This new technology makes contactless fingerprint acquisition and matching possible employing a smart mobile, providing an alternative to standard methods of conducting digital financial transactions which will require specialized equipment or visits to bank branches/franchises. Nadra is proud to take care of its reputation for introducing niche technological trends within the country. it’s another step towards our aim of making a strong National ID Eco-System in Pakistan.”

Banks have started development work to utilize this new service launched by Nadra last week. Nadra also will be providing this service to the EMIs also as branchless banking providers. Capitalizing on Nadra’s innovative product, the banks and EMIs are likely to start out offering new digital banking services to its customers whereby customers are going to be ready to open bank accounts and wallets and conduct biometric-based financial transactions using their mobile cameras from the convenience of their homes.

“This won’t only revolutionize how banking and payments services are offered within the country but also will complement the financial inclusion drive,” Mr. Malik said.

Nadra introduced an identical mobile verification service for Online ID Services (Pak ID) earlier that was launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sept 1, 2021.

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