The Emirates Identity Authority (EIA) has been seeing rising interest from the financial sector following the launch of pilot project which enables using Emirates Identity Cards (EID) as ATM cards, a senior official said.
In a bid to familiarise the financial sector about the capabilities of the Emirates ID card, the authority launched a pilot project with Al Hilal Bank, which would enable bank’s customers to use their ID as an ATM card.
“Since we announced that we are piloting the project about withdrawing money from the EID card, so many banks approached us and they all want to use the ID card,” Ali Al Khouri, director general of the EIA, said at the sidelines of Cards & Payments, Middle East, 2014.
Almost 10 banks have approached the authority to explore possibilities in using the ID card for financial transactions, the official said.
“So I believe we don’t have challenges- the platform is very much flexible and scalable to be used in the financial sector.”
Al Khoori added that banks are also looking to upgrade their infrastructure to accommodate the use of ID card for financial transactions.
But despite the ease and security offered by the EID cards, the official did not rule out the levy of extra charges when using them for financial transactions.
“I am sure there will be some fees to cover the existing operational fees however, with the use of ID card, banks won’t be needing to issue extra cards,” he said.
“So in this perspective they will be lowering that cost, they are getting more assurance that the transactions that are happening are verified by the government. Surely this is going to have an impact on the financial sector as a whole and cut costs at the individual level.”
The use of EID cards in the financial sector will also stem the incidence of identity theft in the region, Al Khoori said.
“The reason we have entered into this domain is not to just make the application of ID card more widespread but identity theft is becoming a global concern for private and public sectors while the costs are rising,” he said.
“So the focus of the Emirates ID is to ensure proper identity management and to ensure that we don’t have identity theft.”
In addition to providing a secure authentication channel for banks, Emirates ID will also help encourage financial inclusion.
Al Khoori said that a pilot project is ongoing to see how EID cards could be used in the UAE’s Wage Protection System, which requires companies to transfer the salaries of all blue-collar workers via selected financial institutions.