The Bank of Uganda in collaboration with Uganda Bankers, FSD Uganda and Laboremus Uganda is rolling out digital ID verification of financial services consumers.
The central bank Friday signed a contract with Fintech company Laboremus Uganda to develop a digital ID verification system to be used by all banks and other licensed financial service providers in the country.
The system is envisaged to function as a shared E Gateway.
It will be hosted at BoU and will interface with and use NIRA’s existing records, as well as the National ID card system to help banks verify the identity of existing and prospective clients in financial institutions.
The development means licensed financial service providers can speed up authentification processes, cut costs of previous length manual processes and increase reach particularly to customer segments especially people living in rural areas or the diaspora.
The EKYC system is expected to make it more efficient to on board potential customers.
Providers will have access to new sets of data that will enable them to improve and develop new financial products and services.
“The sustainability of financial services delivery is to a considerable extent dependent on the ease with which customers can be identified, technically referred to as Know Your Customer (KYC),” said Dr Tumubweine Twinemanzi, the Executive Director Supervision BOU.
He said absence of a flexible and cost effective means of verifying the identity of financial services customers has therefore been a major constraint to financial inclusion and credit growth in Uganda.
He said Bank of Uganda embarked on a project to establish a centralised Application Programming Interface to enable a real-time and remote authentication of customer information in the Ugandan financial sector.
“Under the arrangement, the BOU supervised financial institutions and other authorized service providers shall collect the pre-agreed personal information, which shall then be submitted to NIRA through the system hosted at BOU for authentication.”
He said Bank of Uganda held discussions with NIRA to ensure that the National ID is the key identifier for financial services consumers and these discussions culminated into the signing a MoU for the establishment of the verification interface.
“I would like to take this opportunity to ask all financial institutions to ensure that strict KYC practices and customer due diligence procedures are ingrained in their operations. This includes authentication of the National Identification through the portal.”
“As I conclude, I would like to note that Bank of Uganda will continue to provide the enabling legal and regulatory framework for the financial sector to thrive based on our recognition of the importance of digitizing financial services.”
Ms. Rashmi Pillai, FSD Uganda Executive Director, said digitizing the customer verification process will simplify customer acquisition, increasing the profitability of reaching more customers with formal financial services.
Mr. Bram van den Bosch, Managing Director Laboremus Uganda, said data and Information associated with specific customers or groups can be used to accurately profile them and empower providers to design financial products and services that best suit the financial needs of all.
“This system will be designed and customized to fit Uganda’s needs and is based on proven and tested systems in place. The system will make a digital track record of verified accounts and National IDs,” he noted.
Mr. Wilbrod Owor, Executive Director of Fintech, on his part said: “We are leveraging Fintech to increase the access of financial services to a cross section consumers.”