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South African bank, Department of Home Affairs combine biometric databases


South Africa’s Capitec Bank and the Department of Home Affairs have combined their biometric databases in an effort to curb identity fraud, according to a report by Business Tech.

Since launching in 2001, the bank has stored its customers’ fingerprint data in a database for the purpose of verifying their identities for banking transactions.

With this latest partnership with the Department of Home Affairs, Capitec’s biometric database now links to the agency’s database, “making it much harder for criminals to commit fraud against Capitec Bank customers,” according to Capitec.

The bank uses fingerprint and photographic recognition technology at all its branches when clients open an account and whenever they need to talk to a consultant.

Clients verify their identification through a fingerprint scan, which enables the transaction to be conducted in real-time. In fact, clients can only change vital information on their account by undergoing fingerprint verification.

Additionally, the bank has implemented the same biometric security among its staff. When employees conduct a transaction on behalf of clients, their fingerprint will be directly linked to the exact transaction.

“Our customers have instant account access, in real-time, and can rest assured that only they can transact on their own account,” said Carl Fischer, marketing and corporate affairs executive at Capitec. “Moreover, important information on the client’s internet profile or bank account cannot be changed without their fingerprints being presented in branch.”

As of January, Capitec has scanned over 1.5 million fingerprints into its database.

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