Efforts to digitize Nigeria’s banking and payments landscape are taking a somewhat significant step forward, and the realities on the ground show some flaws that, if fixed, will go a long way toward expanding the digital ID space in Africa’s largest economy become.
As more banks set up digital platforms with biometrics to offer better services, customer verification remains a major challenge as experts suggest the introduction of intelligent addressing systems to solve the problem. In the same light, some policy changes in the country, including the recent ban on the use of bank ID numbers known as BVNs, are also said to lead to an increase in onboarding costs for startups.
Polaris Bank launches digital platform with biometric KYC
Polaris Bank Nigeria has unveiled a digital banking platform (VULTe) that uses facial recognition technology to bring new customers on board and give them the freedom to conduct their transactions anytime, 24/7.
According to an announcement by the bank, the digital platform offers customers complete control over their financial activities such as account opening, bill payments, transfers, account balance inquiries, credit top-ups and quick loans (KYC) checks.
VULTe is an application that can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store or used as a web application that gives customers the choice of accessing banking services at the touch of a button, said Bamidele Adeyinka, chief digital officer of Polaris Bank.
Regarding onboarding, Adeyinka explained: “For onboarding, customers with BVN (Bank Verification Number) enter their BVN and take a selfie (photo of their face), which is automatically compared with the photo in their BVN profile (via face recognition – using advanced face recognition technology with cognitive and artificial intelligence). “
“Do you open an account, set limits for your account, check your identification documents, register your biometrics, make inquiries, take out an instant loan? You are in total control – you do it at your time, however you want, on your terms – you determine how comfortable your banking experience will be, ”said Innocent C. Ike, Acting General Manager and CEO of the bank’s recent inaugural ceremony by VULTe in Nigeria’s trading capital Lagos.
He added: “With VULTe, we are reaffirming our determination to better serve customers and make their banking experience more enjoyable. Therefore, we will continue to bring a range of banking products to the market to meet the different needs of our different customers. “
Polaris Bank Chairman MK Ahmad said the launch of VULTe marks a milestone in their branded digitally led retail that gives customers full control over their financial services needs.
Smart addressing system good for KYC in Nigeria
The chief commercial officer of OkHi, a provider of digital ID verification solutions, says that onboarding customers by digital means can help accelerate and improve KYC processes, especially address verification, in Nigeria.
In an interview with Technext, Galen Crawley suggests that the current, largely manual system can be replaced by an intelligent addressing system that runs a business app like OkHi’s. He believes this will speed up the KYC process, especially for large companies that deal with thousands of onboarding cases every day.
The digital address verification system developed by OkHi enables companies to collect addresses from customers and easily verify them without agents. This is done by comparing your phone GPS with your OkHi address, explains Technext.
Crawley also talks about the importance of digital onboarding, the different types of KYC methods out there that are preferred by companies, and cost issues. He explained why he thinks intelligent addressing systems are better than the old manual and paper-based methods for KYC.
According to Crawley, companies can integrate the OkHi system into their apps and verify their customers’ addresses with their smartphones in less time.
Ban on bank ID as the KYC method increases onboarding costs drives
Technext investigates in another report the impact of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) suppression by the Nigerian central bank on onboarding costs.
The report quotes some industry stakeholders who say the move has resulted in an increase in onboarding costs as startups and fintechs have to resort to alternative methods of customer verification.
The article also notes that the federal government’s move in February to replace the BVN with the NIN is a major blow to many fintech startups that have built their customer ID verification systems based on the BVN that include biometrics .
It should be noted, however, that while BVN suppression has deprived non-banks of a comprehensive method of customer verification, alternative methods may be used depending on the type of business.
Africa | Banking | biometric identification | Biometrics | digital identity | Identity Management | Identity Verification | KYC | Nigeria | Onboarding | Remote authentication