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Fingerprint biometrics preferred modality in Philippines digital banking space, Visa survey shows

Demand for digital banking growing

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A study carried out by Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes has revealed that more Filipinos have been embracing new payment methods including digital banking systems especially as the country grapples with a lockdown due to the coronavirus, Philstar Global writes. It also emerged from the study that fingerprint biometrics, facial and eye scans are, in that order, the payment authentication methods most preferred by Filipinos.

According to the report, the number of Filipinos who show interest in innovative banking services increased from 80 per cent, up from 70 a year earlier when the same study was carried out. The survey of 1,014 respondents revealed that 8 out of 10 Filipinos are interested in using such services.

Close to 2.5 million previously unbanked Filipinos who have registered for the biometric ID cards (PhilID) now have bank accounts, as reported in May. This is at a time when many more citizens are embracing digital banking services in the country largely because of pandemic constraints, per Philstar Global.

Per the study, many would happily use such digital payment methods to carry out transactions such as for bill payment, local money transfers, cashless deposits and withdrawals, and payments for local retail operations, among others.

“There is opportunity in the country for traditional banks and new players to launch digital banking services in the country that will better serve the needs of underserved and underpenetrated segments. We believe this will transform the banking and payments landscape in the country and at Visa, we are keen to work with all our partners to help them create better user interface and experience when they create and enhance their digital banking solutions,” said Dan Wolbert, country manager for the Philippines and Guam at Visa.

Of the total number of new bank account holders, LandBank is said to have already issued 850,875 Land Bank Agent Banking Cards (ABCs) without any initial deposits, with the remaining number scheduled to be issued next month.

The ABCs can be used for cash deposits and withdrawals, as well as for funds transfer transactions at any branch or Agent Banking Partner, and there are plans to soon make it a contactless payment tool via which people can pay fares for public transportation under the Automatic Fare Collection System project of the Department of Transportation.

LBP agencies are set up at 790 registration sites in 10 regions and plans are afoot for more branches to be set up so as to facilitate the account opening process for more PhilSys registrants.

LBP agents are on hand to assist those who have completed the Step 2 registration, which is the capture of biometrics, to open their accounts, PNA states.

The Visa study, among others, also showed increased interest for biometrically authenticated payments and the willingness to switch to digital banking services if rewards are available.

Holder’s consent needed for PhilID authentication

The process to authenticate the holder of a PhilID may not be done without the consent of the card holder regardless of whether or not it is carried out with biometrics, according to Section 12 of the PhilSys Implementing Rules and Guidelines (IRR), PNA reports.

According to the rule, any request from businesses or private and public organizations seeking to authenticate the identity of any person registered with the PhilSys, must comply with existing standards in order to ensure the safety and security of the process

The authentication can be online or offline. PNA adds that for online authentication, information including PSN and biometric information; PSN and demographic information; and PSN, biometric and demographic information, will be used to validate the identity of the registered person. For offline authentication, PNA says, the PhilID card and data stored on the QR code must be the same.

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