Back in 2015, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority issued a directive for all telecom operators to verify their customers biometrically. Thus, started a verification drive on such a large scale that it was never heard of in the world. Daunting and unachievable as it seemed, kudos to the telecom industry that they pulled it off in record time. The project resulted in a base of 108+ million biometrically verified customers that paved the way to offering of instant Mobile Account registration that finally ended the woes of branchless banking player who were stuck with paper based registration process for some time.
Later in year 2017, SBP mandated the players to offer over the counter services only through biometric verification. Thus started another drive by branchless banking players again with investment of billions of rupees to enable their agents with biometric machines to run usual money transfer business which was easily being run through mobile phones.
Biometric devices is a good business
Yes, it is for the suppliers procuring it from china and selling it to local buyers. But, it’s one big dent to financial books of banks, fintechs and Mobile Money players who acquire them.
Distribution and maintenance of biometric devices is a tough job with heavy human resource and operational cost.
So, what can be done? There is hope. InstaScan solution recently launched by Paysys Labs is promising and worth exploring.
How does the solution work?
Solution is based on open API’s that allows anyone to integrate it within their app interfaces. Customer can take picture as instructed by the app and click submit. Once image is submitted, the backend module converts it into a format acceptable to NADRA for verification.
How accurate is this solution?
As claimed by Paysys Labs, the solution is 70-80% accurate given the camera quality is good and customer takes image as instructed by the app without losing focus.
Who can benefit from this solution?
Anyone offering any service that requires verification of the customer can benefit from this solution. Primary target market for this solution will be fintechs, banks and branchless banking players.
Best part is you dont need to ask your customer to leave their comfortable house and visit some retail shop and get them verified. They can try getting them verified themselves from their mobile phones.
Is it alternative to hardware biometric devices?
Only time will tell if this software based solution will replace the tried and tested hardware solution which is being used in local market for quite sometime now. The success rate of image verification can be a big deterrence and might hurt adoption rate. However, every new technology has issues that are ironed out with the passage of time. Nonetheless, this is good innovation and must be explored.