The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has launched contactless biometric verification services for the banking and payments industry at the request of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
According to an official statement issued on Thursday, capitalising on technical advancements, and as per the request of the SBP, Nadra has launched the latest initiative, making Pakistan one of the first countries in the world to implement this technology on a national level, the communiquÃ© read.
The service was launched during the visit of SBP Governor Dr Reza Baqir to Nadra headquarters in Islamabad on Thursday.
The banks in Pakistan will make use of the digital app on smartphones registering and verifying biometrics of the potential account holders from their homes. â€œWith the introduction of this digital technology the banking system will take paradigm shift adding remote biometric capturing technology to the digital banking system.â€
The statement said that the service is initially extended to five banks nominated by the SBP for the pilot project. Other banks and fully the SBP licensed electronic money institutions (EMIs), after completion of necessary formalities will also be included in the pilot run. â€œOnce the pilot is completed, this service shall be extended to all banks/EMIs.â€
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Reza said, â€œThis new mobile-based verification service for banks and Electronic Money Institutions is in line with the SBPâ€™s financial inclusion initiative while creating opportunity for rapid onboarding using remote identification and e-KYC featuresâ€.
He added that early adoption of this new technology has endless potential to reach towards underserviced population while it extends a great benefit to financial sector as it will reduce the operational costs, aiding in releasing pressure on banks â€œwhich have been negatively impacted during this pandemicâ€.
Speaking on the occasion, Nadra Chairman Tariq Malik said they were addressing the need of the hour during the Covid-19 pandemic.
â€œThis 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 specialised equipment or visits to bank branches/franchises. Nadra is proud to maintain its reputation for introducing niche technological trends in the country. It is another step towards our aim of creating a robust national ID Eco-System in Pakistan.â€
Banks have started development work to utilise this new service launched by Nadra last week. Nadra will also be providing this service to the EMIs as well as branchless banking providers. Capitalising on Nadraâ€™s innovative product, the banks and the 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 phones from the ease of their homes.
â€œThis will not only revolutionise how banking and payments services are offered in the country but will also complement the financial inclusion drive,â€ the Nadra chairman said.