UAE government examining biometric ID card for payments

The UAE’s biometric civil identification card could soon be used for payments.

According to an article in the Gulf News, authored by Ali Mohammad Al Khouri, the director-general of the Emirates Identity Authority, the UAE Government is currently looking at “how the smart identity card infrastructure in the country can support secure electronic payment systems suitable for both government and commercial purposes.”

“Once we effectively deal with the security risks pertaining to electronic payment mechanisms, we are at the threshold of a clear win-win situation, promising unprecedented benefits for all,” Al Khouri writes.  “The cost and risks associated with physical cash have always been a determining factor behind new age payment systems.”

“The establishment of an independent, open and interoperable platform for electronic payments accessible to all may take some time, but we are on the right track to that end.”

The concept of digital cash is nothing new, but is something becoming more prevalent every day. Mobile apps are making payment easy, transactions are occurring online and consumers just aren’t carrying the same amount of cash that they used to. Biometrics is a large part of the discussion around ePayments as of late, as advocates say biometric authentication makes it easy and secure.

In fact, just this week, panellists at the Biometrics Institute Asia Pacific conference discussed the importance and impending prevalence of biometric payments for consumers.

In 2012, the World Record Academy recognized the Emirates Identity Authority as having the largest database of civil integrated biometrics within the UAW population. 

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