NADRA biometric verifications rolled back for mobile banking, seniors

Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) is asking commercial banks in the country to disable biometric user verification through mobile apps, on grounds that its biometric customer verification agreement applies to bank branches and ATMs, but not mobile authentication, TechJuice reports.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) issued a directive in October, 2018, mandating banks, including microfinance and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) to verify account-holders with biometrics. Several banks launched mobile biometric authentication leveraging the NADRA system, which was quite beneficial for some Pakistanis, such as seniors and those overseas, according to TechJuice.

NADRA is now reportedly seeking regulatory approval from the SBP to extend biometric account authentication to the mobile channel.

The Office of Prime Minister Imran Kahn, meanwhile, has issued a notification removing the requirement for biometric verification for bank account access and other services in cases where fingerprints are not clear enough to match. This is particularly common among senior citizens, some of whom have had problems accessing their accounts, SAMAA reports.

A separate process to attest to the accuracy of bank records is required if the biometric capture process reveals a problem with the individual’s fingerprints.

Senior citizens will also be exempted from biometric verification requirements for acquiring a national ID (CNIC), mobile SIM, or passport. The change is expected to be effective within weeks.

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