Indian government considering QR code-based offline Aadhaar customer verification for bank services

India’s government and reserve bank are negotiating to allow the use of the secure digitally-signed QR code introduced by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for offline Aadhaar eKYC identity verification for opening bank accounts, operating payment wallets, and purchasing insurance, Business Today reports.

The QR code method of offline Aadhaar verification was launched in April to improve offline identity verification. The method provides only the individual’s name, address, and photograph, so avoids sharing an Aadhaar number or matching biometrics. The offline Aadhaar verification process is facilitated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and the UIDAI has reportedly suggested that the RBI’s KYC master circular be amended to include the digitally-signed QR code method, as well as to synchronize its rules with the recent Supreme Court order blocking the requirement of Aadhaar biometric verification for bank and other private services.

The State Bank of India (SBI) recently informed the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) that it will discontinue the Aadhaar-enabled payments system (AePS), on the understanding that it may violate the Court’s ruling. The UIDAI has responded with a circular asking banks not to discontinue the system in order to avoid obstructing welfare payment delivery, which were explicitly allowed under the judgement.

Business Today reports that fintech companies have been urging the government to amend the law to make offline Aadhaar mandatory, but it is not clear that this could be done in compliance with the Court decision.

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