Bank accounts to be opened remotely by as early as summer 2018

Photo: David Prahl / shutterstock

The Council of the Federation today approved the legislation whereby individuals will be able to be identified remotely.

‘This new identification mechanism will make financial services more accessible, including to consumers with disabilities, elderly and physically challenged people; it will also help promote competition and drive down costs in the financial market,’ highlighted Olga Skorobogatova, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia. ‘This project is crucial to financial services undergoing digital transformation, and similarly to the advancement of effective and safe solutions in this field’.

National bank laws currently require that Russian citizens visit a bank or meet with a bank representative to open an account (deposit). Thereafter, only this bank's services can be accessed remotely.

This will change when the remote identification mechanism enables access to remote financial services provided by any bank.

Remote access to financial services will be available following a one-time process of identification by visiting an authorised bank. This bank will register the citizen in the Unified System of Identification and Authentication (USIA), taking his/her biometric data (facial image and voice) and entering these data into an integrated biometrical system.

Following these steps, to open a bank account (deposit), apply for a loan or make a transfer at another bank, the consumer will pass authorisation in the USIA and confirm his/her data on a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer equipped with a camera and microphone.

Importantly, these procedures will be free for the consumer. They will be performed only with his/her consent.

Personal data protection will be a priority as the new scheme is rolled out. The Bank of Russia will control and supervise banks’ compliance with the organisational and technical arrangements of the scheme - to ensure the protection of personal data being entered into the integral biometrical system.

The law will become effective six months from its official publication date. In the meantime, the appropriate technological infrastructure will be put in place, and banks will have the time to upgrade their IT systems and infrastructure for biometrical data collection and remote identification.

The remote identification mechanism will be multi-purpose and could subsequently encompass other segments of the financial market including insurance, microfinance and public/other services.

26 December 2017

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