Global: Financial Institutions in PNG, Australia, and Kazakhstan Embrace Biometrics

Financial Institutions in PNG, Australia, and Kazakhstan Embrace Biometrics
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Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) digital identification system, Digizen, is set to introduce a biometrics-based know your customer (KYC) tool for Women’s Micro Bank under the directives of the country’s central bank, the Bank of Papua New Guinea.

Digizen has been instrumental in providing digital IDs for PNG residents, extending its services even to those without prior identification or mobile phones. Supervised by the central bank, Digizen facilitates customer enrollment for microfinance institutions such as MiBank and Women’s Micro Bank, also known as Mama Bank. Enrollment involves the collection of face and fingerprint biometrics using tablets, with village chiefs verifying the identities of customers.

The pilot phase, conducted in the Sepik region, was facilitated through a regulatory sandbox initiative hosted by the central bank. The objective was to assess the efficacy of biometrics captured under the digital project for KYC purposes.

Mama Bank has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Digizen for the initiative aimed at enabling rural women to access digital identification and bank accounts. This project, supported by the Asian Development Bank, holds promise for financial inclusion in PNG.

NAB Adopts Behavioral Biometrics to Combat Scams

The National Australia Bank (NAB) is enhancing its scam alert system by incorporating behavioral biometrics into its business banking digital platform, NAB Connect.

This decision comes in response to the willingness of Australians to share more personal data and banking information to combat fraud. Nearly half of the respondents expressed their support for sharing information about suspicious payments with their bank to prevent scams.

NAB highlights that different demographic groups adopt various strategies to combat scams, with digital identity gaining acceptance, particularly among older age groups and higher-income brackets.

NAB is among Australia’s leading banks offering ConnectID, a digital identity service enabling users to verify their identity online with merchants and other businesses.

Kazakhstan Mandates Biometric Identification for Online Loans

Under a new law regulating lending, commercial banks in Kazakhstan will be mandated to conduct biometric identification of customers before issuing online loans.

Proposed by the Agency for Regulation and Development of the Financial Market (ARDFM), this regulation is part of several measures aimed at protecting borrowers. Currently, online loan companies in Kazakhstan allow customers to obtain loans with just an SMS, leading to fraud cases involving fake phone numbers.

The Kazakhstani Digital Ministry has previously suggested three-factor authentication for obtaining loans, incorporating biometric identification, SMS authentication, and an e-signature.

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