The newly-launched Online Fingerprint Verification System is expected to deal a major blow to acts of fraud and corruption that have cheated banks out of millions of rands, said Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
The system is a joint initiative between the Department of Home Affairs and the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC).
Five banks - ABSA, African Bank, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank - are currently participating in the initiative. The system is at different phases of implementation with each bank.
It will allow banks access to the Home Affairs National Identification System to verify the identity of prospective and current clients by using their fingerprints.
The partnership between the department and the banking sector will contribute to people feeling safer in the knowledge that their savings, investments, deposits and hard-won earnings are secure in the hands of the various banking institutions, Minister Dlamini Zuma said.
SABRIC described the initiative as an important step towards helping banks prevent crimes related to identity theft in the banking sector.
“Bank clients will benefit immensely from this initiative as it offers the banks a second layer of confirmation that the persons presenting identity documents are indeed who they purport to be,” said SABRIC CEO Kalyani Pillay.