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Biometric identification system keeping South African banks safe from fraud


At a recent meeting with banking and insurance industry representatives, SA Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said that allowing banks access to South Africa’s Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS) potentially prevents a fraud loss of around R322m ($19M USD) loss per month and could reach about R3.8bn ($231M USD) annually‚ according to a report by Times Live.

The HANIS verification service is a public-private initiative that uses fingerprints to verify the identity of prospective and current clients and prevent identity fraud‚ irregular insurance claims and related crimes. HANIS is in use by seven of the county’s banks.

“This strategic initiative was to ensure that people’s savings‚ investments‚ deposits and earnings are secure in the various banking institutions,” said Gigaba. “It was to arm the banks with a reliable online tool for confirming that persons presenting identity documents were indeed who they purported to be.”

Gigaba continued, “This System‚ a first for South Africa‚ has proved to be a potent weapon with which to stage a daring combat against identity fraud in its many manifestations. Reports received from banks show syndicates now know that they cannot for instance get away with ID photo replacements due to the HANIS Verification‚ and that identity fraud has therefore decreased.”

HANIS also provides insurance companies with a direct link to the National Population Register and has lowered the number of fraudulent claims paid by insurance companies.

Last April, South Africa’s Capitec Bank and the Department of Home Affairs combined its biometric databases in an effort to curb identity fraud.

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