Pakistan turns to biometrics for banking
18 November 2014 11:32 GMT

NADRA biometric technology will be used to perform customers-due-diligence (CDD) procedures at the time of opening customers’ accounts and for over-the-counter (OTC) payment transactions

Pakistan’s central bank has revealed it will implement biometric technology for identity verification developed by the country’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

The NADRA biometric technology will be used to perform customers-due-diligence (CDD) procedures at the time of opening customers’ accounts and for over-the-counter (OTC) payment transactions.

The development was revealed at an international conference on “Innovations in digital finance for financial inclusion” organised by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in Islamabad in cooperation with the UK Department for International Development.

Pakistan’s reliance on the excessive use of cash, especially for payments and savings “is risky, costly and inconvenient to the businesses and public at large. Besides, it restrains our national efforts towards documentation of the economy”, said Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, governor of the SBP.

Senator Ishaq Dar said that the signing of an agreement between SBP and NADRA on Monday was “a major step to facilitate the implementation of biometric verification for millions of account opening and billions of transactions in future”, reported The Nation.

Wathra noted at the conference that Pakistan was now the one of the largest branchless banking markets in the world, as average monthly transactions have reached 22 million valuing Rs 125 Billion.

Tariq Malik, former chairman, National Database and Registration Authority, wrote in a comment last week on CGDEV: “Digital financial inclusion must be a priority for the current government, as leveraging NADRA’s database can enhance its ability to optimize service delivery.

The State Bank of Pakistan will be better able to monitor suspicious financial transactions when they are under the net of digital transactions, rather than outside in the untraceable cash economy”.