• Magdalena Gołębiewska

NatWest to enable customers to open an account with a selfie

They are not the first, but the biggest so far!


The move removes the need to go into a branch, put identity documents in the post or wait a day or two for the account-opening process to be completed. Instead, the customer provides a selfie and photo ID such as a passport to verify who they are.


NatWest said that by using “state-of-the-art” artificial intelligence, real-time biometric checks are then carried out to confirm that their selfie matches the image in the ID documents they have uploaded. Their documents are also authenticated in order to prevent fraudulent applications.


NatWest, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland group, said the move meant easier, safer and faster account opening – although it is not the first bank to offer such a process using selfies.

Metro Bank, which predominantly operates in London and the south-east, claimed in January 2018 to be the first UK high street bank to use selfie technology to open retail current accounts online.


Meanwhile, digital banks Monzo and Starling let people open accounts by recording a short selfie video and providing a photo of a valid ID document.

NatWest said some customers had completed their ID verification in as little as four minutes and added that the service had been successfully piloted with more than 60,000 customers so far.


The new service is the result of a partnership with an ID verification company, HooYu, which has previously linked up with companies and organisations, including Tower Hamlets council in London and the bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral, to help investigate issues such as fraudulent applications for school places and collusion in betting.


The NatWest account-opening process records the location of the application, allowing for additional fraud checks. Overall, fraudulent applications dropped “significantly” during the pilot period, the bank said.

Source: The Guardian

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