Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cash at your fingerprints

Using your credit card or mobile phone to withdraw cash or make payments will be passé in the not-so-distant future, when all you need will be your fingerprints.

The nationwide rollout and adoption of Aadhaar smart cards for identification purposes promises to be a game-changer and an equaliser in the financial services landscape of India, says electronic payment service provider Visa’s Group Country Manager for India and South Asia, Uttam Nayak.

Visa has tied up with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to develop a payments ecosystem atop the Aadhaar platform that will facilitate financial inclusion and boost the electronic payments culture in India.

“Aadhaar is a 12-digit number and it only helps to prove your identity. We went to them in 2010 and suggested linking it to a bank account,” says Nayak.

With Aadhaar utilising biometric fingerprint recognition to build a database on the nation’s citizens, Visa plans to utilise the same technology to facilitate payments.

“Eliminate the card and the phone and the Internet: use your finger. We are linking the Aadhaar number, your card number and your phone number to your finger. Your credentials are saved one time. The revolution is: more reach, with more access to payment, because the form factor is eliminated,” he says.

Visa has also assumed the role of a banking correspondent to ensure that all Aadhaar cardholders can open a bank account. Once an individual receives an Aadhaar, they are automatically ready to be issued a Visa Instant Account, simplifying the KYC criteria.
Prior to this, customers would have had to provide numerous documents to fulfil the banks’ KYC requirement.

“We will do what can be termed e-KYC (electronic Know-Your-Customer), which is paperless and instant opening of a bank account. We will pull your registration information from Aadhaar, your photograph, all the contact details that are required to open a bank account and convert it into an electronic form of the bank that is present at a specific kirana outlet.

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