SABRIC member banks are participants in a joint project with the Department of Home Affairs to roll out the HANIS (Home Affairs National Identification System) verification service in bank branches. Hi-Tech Security Solutions spoke to SABRIC’s general manager: Information Hub, Susan Potgieter about the initiative.
Potgieter says that the service enables the verification of the customer’s identity by checking their identity number and biometric data against the data hosted at the Department of Home Affairs. Different banks are at various stages of roll out and SABRIC is satisfied with the current status of the project.
Interestingly, the quality of the data at the Department of Home Affairs has exceeded expectations, given the fact that most of the records were paper based and they had to be converted into digital format when the department migrated to the present digital platform.
“When we embarked on this project, one of the objectives was to support the department in improving their data quality where needed. We have found that the data integrity is of a reasonable standard and is actually improving as citizens are applying for new and replacement products like smart ID cards and passports. The reliability of the verification service is unquestionable: if a customer verifies successfully, then the person is authenticated,” Potgieter points out.
Different banks are deploying the solution in different business processes in their branch network at present. Whilst it is envisaged that the solution will be used beyond the branch environment in the near future, there is still some work to be done before this will happen.
Potgieter says that the greatest benefit is that the solution is acting as an effective deterrent. Fraudsters know that they will be identified if they attempt to impersonate a victim of identity theft. The other benefit has been the opportunity to contribute to the Department of Home Affairs’ database by referring customers who are not on HANIS to be enrolled or where there is a discrepancy in the data, to have it corrected.
So is the system only for banks or can it be used to benefit other registered financial service providers? Whilst the SABRIC initiative is only for member banks, the benefits of biometric verification in general are definitely not limited to that industry, says Potgieter. She asserts that any company that needs to verify their customer’s identity will benefit from biometric verification, especially where the process includes verification against the source. In the South African context, this source is the Department of Home Affairs.
When selecting biometric devices for accurate identification and authentication, as well as reliability and security, it is important to understand the specifications required to produce the desired outcome and to test and select devices that meet that standard as set by the department. Security of the transaction is of paramount importance and in this regard, the banking industry has complied with the standards prescribed by government as well as international best practice.
Potgieter says that when registered financial institutions are considering implementing a biometric solution there are specific security standards they should insist upon from a supplier. These include protecting the confidentiality of the data being transmitting during the verification process. Similarly, Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (indicated by ‘HTTPS’ before the website address in the address bar of your Internet browser) is of the utmost importance and is used as the protocol over which the data is sent.
Potgieter says that SABRIC and the banking industry expect the use of biometrics as a verification method to grow in their market and to be utilised on numerous platforms, including mobile devices. “We welcome this development, especially if the customer’s identity has been verified biometrically with the Department of Home Affairs.”
For more information, go to www.sabric.co.za
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