Govt supports banks access to fingerprint data

October 28, 2011 7:57 am 0 comments

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Cabinet has welcomed a decision by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to continue to provide banks with access to its fingerprint database – saying this would help curb identity fraud.  

In terms of the agreement, the department allows banks real-time access to the Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS) database to verify the identity of prospective and current clients.

The initiative was first announced in March 2010 after the first phase of the project was completed in 2009. Once the system was declared to be feasible, the second phase of the project  - which involved looking at pre-requisites for formally implementing and rolling out access by banks - was then implemented over the next six months.

HANIS holds South African citizens’ identity documents (ID) numbers, fingerprints and photos. Accessing HANIS will equip the banks with the ability to conduct on-the-spot verification of the finger prints of a client against the information held in the system.

Speaking during a briefing on the Cabinet meeting, spokesperson, Jimmy Manyi, said government supported the strategic collaboration between the DHA and the banking industry, through the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC).

“This Online Fingerprint Verification model is intended to assist the banks to curb identity related fraud and corruption which is costing them and the economy millions of rands. This will assist the Department’s mandate in protecting the identities of South Africans while assisting in the national effort to push back the frontier of fraud and corruption,” Cabinet noted.

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