Financial institutions gear up to integrate UAE Pass
Some banks will accept the digital authentication system by early October
Financial institutions in the Emirates are preparing to integrate UAE Pass — a digital identity for all citizens, residents and visitors — with some accepting the new authentication system as soon as next month.
More than 200 participants, including exchange houses and at least 50 banks, attended a UAE Pass workshop sponsored by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority on Thursday.
Mohammed Al Khamis, director of the Smart Government National Programme for the TRA, said the workshop's main objective was to "explain the potential power of UAE Pass and how it can transform their services to be completely digital without having the need for physical document identification".
UAE Pass, a national initiative started by the TRA in partnership with Abu Dhabi Digital Authority and Smart Dubai, aims to provide quick and easy digital access to government and non-government services. It was rolled out a year ago at the Gitex event in Dubai in October 2018.
The Central Bank of the UAE approved its use, including the acceptance of digital customer signatures, across financial institutions on September 12. Users will be able to open bank accounts, conduct financial transactions and upload documents using the fingerprint digital authentication system.
The first phase of UAE Pass integration included Bashr, a government e-service that allows investors to apply for commercial licences in the UAE within 15 minutes, as well as services of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, the Ministry of Justice and Dubai Government. The second phase includes the banking sector, the telecom sector and all government services in the country.
Abu Dhabi has already integrated 25 local government entities and 150 services with UAE Pass through the Tamm government services platform. The government is aiming for the UAE Pass to be compatible with 39 government entities and 1,600 services by the end of 2020, said Saeed Al Mulla, executive director of government services.
There will be 300 UAE Pass kiosks across the UAE by October 1 and the TRA has set a target of registering 250,000 people by the end of this year, Mr Al Khamis said.
To apply for a UAE Pass, users must download the app, scan their Emirates IDs and visit a registration kiosk to submit fingerprints. The pass will not replace the Emirates ID, but is meant as a digital complement. At this point the UAE Pass is not mandatory.
“We believe in showing value in what UAE Pass can bring to the table and once the customer sees the value, they will definitely register,” Mr Al Khamis said.
The TRA is working with several banks and some will “be live prior to the end of the year”, he said. Emirates NBD has already said it will use UAE Pass for its new digital business bank expected to be available in the first quarter of 2020.
Kashif Thakkur, head of consumer banking at Ajman Bank, told The National they are one of three banks that will be ready to integrate UAE Pass in time for the Gitex event taking place October 6-10 in Dubai.
Ajman bank has a three-year plan to digitally transform by 2021. The bank, which has 11 physical branches in the UAE, now conducts more than 90 per cent of financial transactions digitally and wants to move that figure to above 95 per cent.
“When we heard about UAE Pass, it was music to our ears,” Mr Thakkur said. “This was exactly what we needed that now a government entity is enabling us to actually complete our journey quicker.”
Representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office, Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, Smart Dubai, the Federal Authority for Identity & Citizenship, the Ministry of Justice and the Central Bank were also in attendance at the TRA event on Thursday.
Updated: September 26, 2019 07:16 PM