News Column

ID card can be used for banking

May 27, 2014

Binsal Abdul Kader Staff Reporter

Abu Dhabi: UAE residents will soon have the option of using their national ID cards as bank cards in financial transactions.

A pilot project to use the ID card in financial transactions has been successful, a top official told Gulf News in an interview on Tuesday.

The trials have proved that the ID card can be used as bank cards at bank machines at point of sale terminals retail points where bank cards are used to purchase goods and services and for online payments, said Dr Ali Al Khoury, Director General of Emirates Identity Authority (Emirates ID) that issues ID cards.

A recent test demonstration by Network International, a leading provider of payment solutions in the Middle East, has confirmed this, he said.

The trial confirmed that the ID card could be used on a point of sale transaction terminal, Al Khoury said.

The trial has also proved that the transaction using ID card guaranteed maximum security through authentication using card holder's biometric details.

A test identity card loaded with a financial application was successfully used for a purchase at a point of sale terminal, following a memorandum of understanding signed between the Emirates ID and the Network International.

Al Hilal Bank recently confirmed that ID cards can be used as ATM cards to withdraw cash from ATMS [machines], Al Khoury said.

The bank has announced that the service will be ready within one year.

As Gulf News exclusively reported on December 31, 2013, the project would be implemented based on the pilot results to be announced in mid-2014.

"Now the pilot results have proved that Emirates ID's digital infrastructure is ready to roll out this service and it is up to the financial service providers including the banks to utilise this opportunity for their customers," Al Khoury said on Tuesday.

It will be optional for UAE residents to integrate their bank cards with national ID cards when such a system comes into effect. The residents will still have the option to retain their bank cards. It is up to the individual financial institutions to decide whether to integrate their cards with national ID card.

Once bank cards are integrated with ID card, Emirates ID cannot access the financial data of customers at all.

An ATM card or credit does not carry any financial data of the customer but identification details of customer only to ascertain his or her identity. Basically what a bank card does is identifying the customer at an ATM [machine] or a credit card terminal and link him or her to the financial data [balance in account stored in bank's system.}

The bank cards do not carry such financial data but the bank's system does.

Bank card's function is identifying the customer only, which can be offered by national ID card, he explained.

The first advantage is customers can avoid carrying multiple cards and remembering personal identification numbers (PIN). The financial institutions can save expenditure on manufacturing plastic cards and their transportation and delivery. Some 10.4 million debit and credit cards were in circulation in the UAE in 2012, according to the UAE Central Bank.

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Source: Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)

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