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|Visa Launches New Payment Service in India – Links Indian Unique Identification with Visa Accounts|
New account will deliver financial services system to tens of millions of unbanked citizens
Delhi, INDIA, December 12, 2012 – Visa today announced a partnership with five of India's leading banks to provide Adhaar holders, the Indian national identity system, access to a Visa account. The system will provide tens of millions of Indians with access to financial services and electronic payments for the first time. The new account, called "Saral Money" uses biometric information, such as fingerprints, to verify and authorize payments. Both the account and the associated biometric data are securely hosted by the new national identity system, which is run by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
This new initiative brings together Visa, UIDAI, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and the State Bank of India to solve a long-standing problem of how to authenticate those citizens without an existing bank account or adequate forms of identity to prove they are who they say they are. This problem has long hindered the ability of banks to expand and of consumers to pay safely and securely. It has also restricted the government's agenda of promoting and growing electronic payments.
Now, by linking Visa accounts to the national identity system, customer identities can be verified via biometric recognition data stored centrally, for instance by running fingerprint scans at newly designed micro-ATM's when they wish to pay or withdraw cash. The Micro ATMs are portable biometric Point-of-Sale devices and laptops designed to overcome the lack of bank branches in parts of the country. Visa serves as the network which links the banks to the government's identity database and is currently the only authorized international payment network for the initiative.
Elizabeth Buse, Group President, APCEMEA, Visa Inc. said, "This initiative is a critical milestone for India as it solves the customer identification problem when it comes to opening bank accounts. The biometric solution is unique and we're delighted to be playing a central role in the program. The combination of Visa working with five of our leading clients, plus the UIDAI, shows what can be achieved when powerful partnerships are created."
Once an individual receives an Aadhaar, he or she is automatically eligible for Saral Money and then need only provide their Aadhaar registration letter at a bank to be issued with a bank-branded Visa account immediately, simplifying the account application process. Prior to this, potential customers would have had to provide numerous documents to verify their identity, which automatically excluded hundreds of millions of people. Having opened their account, they can use Saral Money to make purchases, send money, or receive government payments electronically, with all the usual convenience and security benefits afforded to other Visa accountholders around the world.
Phase 1 of the Saral Money program will see the account rolled out in New Delhi and the National Capital Region, with expansion to the rest of the country targeted for completion by the end of next year.
About Saral Money:
How Saral Money Works
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