Biometric verification has been made mandatory for opening a new bank account and using ATMs by the State Bank of Pakistan. This applies to all private and government banks and will be in effect from January 2016.
All ATMs in the country will soon be fitted with biometric scanners to get the finger impressions of people using ATM cards to withdraw or transfer cash.
The decision comes from the Federal Investigation Agency, which has seen an increasing numbers of cases related to electronic crimes, fund transfers to terrorist outfits, general misuses of bank account and ATM card fraud.
The move will also help eliminate fake bank accounts as well as tax evasion.
The whole process is expected to start from January 2016. Banks would have to get fingerprints of customers before they open an account and existing bank account holders would also have to go through the process.
The arguments put forth for this move are more or less the same as the ones used for biometric verification of mobile SIMs. It remains to be seen how much it will cost, how much time it will take and whether it’s an effective strategy to combat electronic fraud.