Fingerprint and facial biometric bank account openings in Thailand on for Q3

Thailand’s central bank has announced that biometrics can be used by the country’s financial institutions to verify account openings in compliance with electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) regulations by the third quarter of this year, the Bangkok Post reports, as biometric-backed fintech looks set to take off in the country.

The Bank of Thailand will allow fingerprint and facial recognition to be used after the service exits testing in a regulatory sandbox, according to the Assistant Governor for the Bank’s Payment Systems Policy and Financial Group, Siritida Panomwan Na Ayudhya. Testing is being carried out by a dozen banks and non-bank financial firms, according to the report.

The bank had hoped that mobile account opening with facial recognition would become available earlier this year. The Bank of Ayudha (Krungsri) has already announced its service, so the optimism of the latest announcement seems to be shared, though the central bank also noted that a time frame for further digital services has not been established, and that it will depend on the readiness of financial institutions.

Thailand is also expected to complete the launch of its national ID system, which was previously set for launch within the past couple of months, later this year.

The adoption of mobile digital technology for financial services could increase security, consumer confidence, and financial inclusion.

“On average, tens of thousands of new deposit accounts per month are opened at a local large bank,” Siritida told the Post. “With e-KYC technology, new account openings are expected to increase.”

Mobile bank transaction fees in Thailand were recently waived by the government, and Siritida says the average number of mobile transactions per user are up by roughly double, to 100 a year. There are now 48 million people and 4.9 million businesses using the PromptPay national e-payment platform, the later up from just over 3 million at the end of 2018.

Commercial banks in Thailand have been applying for licenses to provide digital services such as peer-to-peer lending and e-wallets.

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