Banks in Papua New Guinea, Australia, and Kazakhstan adopt biometric technology

Three initiatives have cropped up over the past few days that seek to promote financial inclusion within the digital banking section.

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This week, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and Kazakhstan have launched new projects to integrate biometric technology into their banking systems.

PNG’s Digizen initiative collaborates with Women’s Micro Bank, introducing a biometric Know Your Customer (KYC) tool supported by the Asian Development Bank to facilitate access to banking for rural women. Despite its modest economic size, Papua New Guinea has been at the forefront of digital development, aiming to roll out a country-wide digital ID system by 2025, with its Department of Information Communication and Technology being nominated for a UNDP award in 2023.

In Australia, the National Australia Bank (NAB) expands its fraud prevention measures by incorporating behavioral biometrics into its NAB Connect platform, capitalizing on the increasing willingness of Australians to share personal data to combat fraud effectively (despite the failures of the national digital ID scheme).

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan mandates biometric identification for online microloans, tightening security measures and preventing fraudulent transactions. Until this new proposal by the Agency for Regulation and Development of the Financial Market (ARDFM), the loans could be obtained simply with an SMS.

Why does it matter?

These developments signify a broader trend towards digital transformation within the banking sector, promising greater security and less fraud for users in Australia and Kazakhstan. Moreover, by facilitating more accessible access to banking services through biometric identification, the Papuan initiative can potentially promote financial inclusion within marginalised women’s communities, like the microcredit success of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.