Contactless Biometric Verification Services Added for Pakistan’s Digital Banking, Payments Sector

The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) in Pakistan has added contactless biometric verification services for the nation’s banking and payments sector, making the Asian nation one of the first in the world to introduce the tech on a State-wide level.

As first reported by Dawn News, the newly-developed service was unveiled during a recent visit by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Dr. Reza Baqir to the Nadra head offices this past Thursday.

Banking institutions in Pakistan will be using the digital app on mobile phones in order to capture and verify biometrics of account holders. With the launch of this digital tech, the banking sector in the country will be integrating the remote biometric capturing tech into the virtual banking ecosystem.

The newly-introduced service will be offered at five local banking institutions that have reportedly been chosen by the SBP for carrying out a testing program. Other banking service providers and  SBP-approved Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs) may also join the testing phase. After the pilot stage is successfully completed, this new service may be rolled out by other Pakistani banks and EMIs.

The SBP governor stated:

“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 further noted:

“Early adoption of this new technology has endless potential to reach towards underserviced population while it extends a great benefit to the financial sector as it will reduce the operational costs, aiding in releasing pressure on banks which have been negatively impacted during this pandemic.”

Tariq Malik, Chairperson at Nadra, remarked:

“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 the country. It is another step towards our aim of creating a robust National ID Eco System in Pakistan.”

Banking institutions in Pakistan have initiated appropriate development work in order to effectively use this service.

Nadra officials confirmed that they would be offering this service to the EMIs and also to the all-digital banking service providers.

Taking advantage of Nadra’s new product, the local banks and EMIs are likely to begin providing updated virtual banking solutions so that clients can easily open new bank accounts and maintain digital wallets. Clients may also complete biometric-enabled monetary transfers with their smartphone cameras from the comfort of their homes.

Malik added:

“This will not only revolutionize how banking and payments services are offered in the country but will also complement the financial inclusion drive.”

Nadra launched a somewhat similar mobile verification service for Online ID Services (Pak ID). The service was introduced by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sept 1 , 2021.

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