Verify identity online

Banks now verify your identity online
Minister Nkosazana Zuma verifies her fingerprints online Minister Nkosazana Zuma verifies her fingerprints online

Next time you visit your bank, you will not have to fill in long forms or carry an identity book to confirm your identity.

The bank will verify your identity by simply placing your finger on a biometric reader which will read your fingerprint against the Home Affairs database.  
This follows the launch of a ground-breaking Online Fingerprint Verification System by the Department of Home Affairs and the South African Banking Risk Identification Centre (SABRIC).

Five banks - ABSA, African Bank, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank are currently participating in the initiative, with the system at different phases of implementation at each bank.

The joint initiative will allow banks to access the Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS) to verify the identity of prospective and current clients using their fingerprints.

Home Affairs Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma commended the newly-launched electronic identity verification system for having the capacity to combat bank-related identity fraud and corruption.

“In launching the Online Fingerprint Verification System, Home Affairs and SABRIC indeed contribute to a positive climate in which our citizenry are and feel safe in the knowledge that their savings, investments, deposits and hard-won earnings are indeed secure in the hands of the various banking institutions,” she added.

Information retrieved form HANIS by banks will not be stored on the databases of banks. The Department of Home Affairs will continue being the sole custodian of the HANIS database.

SABRIC CEO, Kalyani Pillay confirmed this by saying that banks will not have access to data in the database. What they will have is the ability to verify the identity of a client through information in the database.

“The bank client will place their finger on a biometric reader – this information will then be sent through to the Department of Home Affairs and the results will come back as verified or not. The banks will not have access to any other data contained within the database,” she added.

Absa executive Alfred Ramosedi noted that during the pilot at seven Absa branches, seven fraudulent cases whereby applicants tried to utilise the identities of deceased persons to open accounts, were detected.

Apart from the Online Fingerprint Verification System being revered as a crime combating revelation, it is undoubtedly breaking new ground in saving our environment. The system will enable banks to reduce paper consumption and in turn contribute to the spirit of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) of ‘Working Together, Saving Tomorrow’.

The launch is proof that Government working together with the private sector can address challenges facing the people of South Africa and their environment.