In a major step towards enhanced security in mobile banking and mobile commerce, Thailand is introducing a voluntary system under which new prepaid and postpaid mobile SIM card registration can get their fingerprint scanned.
According to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) it is a step towards greater security of the mobile banking channel and prevent the risk of electronic fraud, which in a cashless society will increase. Mobile operators in Thailand will introduce an online fingerprint ID system for new prepaid and postpaid mobile SIM card registration, with a tentative deadline set for next February. Through a biometric enrolment process, mobile operators will scan and store each person’s fingerprint records on the NBTC’s secure database server.
The NBTC’s telecom committee originally approved the plan to use a fingerprint registration system in September. The NBTC selected a fingerprint enrolment system which was developed by the Engineering Faculty of Kasetsart University. The school won an auction held by the NBTC offering to supply the system for 15 million baht.
Mobile banking is a service provided by banks or other financial institutions as well as mobile operators that allows customers to conduct some financial transactions remotely using any mobile device, with no bank account required. The popularity of mobile banking activities marks a significant trend taking place in banking.
The government will ensure that the fingerprint system would not create a financial burden on mobile operators as this investment can be deducted as a business expense from the universal service obligation (USO) fee operators pay annually to the NBTC.
Banks and mobile operators have increasingly been urged to boost the standards for customer authentication systems in a bid to prevent fraud through mobile banking activities — currently one of the most popular mobile services.