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An overview of biometrics in the former Soviet Union

How are financial institutions in the former Soviet Union using biometrics? Are investments made into these solutions always justified? This short overview will get you up-to-date.

Russia:

  • Leading Russian developers are currently implementing the Unified Biometric System project, which is being led by biometric specialists who have strong experience in various international biometric tests and competitions.
  • In 2019, the Central Bank of Russia initiated three key biometric measures: (1) using data from financial institutions to create the Unified Biometric System, (2) integrating facial recognition systems into the Quick Payment System and (3) creating a biometric know-your-customer platform.
  • Russian financial institutions have worked to implement biometric solutions that will allow them to launch products and services in even the most remote parts of the country. Some customers, however, are upset that some financial institutions are purportedly illegally compelling them submit biometric data.
  • Alfa Bank has been among the most active in implementing biometric solutions. So much so in fact that the bank has plans to install a biometric identification system at its entrances in order to immediately recognize customers and know what products and services to offer them. At the same time, the bank considers a recent USD 1.5 million investment in the collection of biometric data from its customers to be a dubious investment at best.

Kazakhstan:

  • Kazakhstani company BTS Digital has developed a remote customer identification system (Digital ID) that will allow consumers to obtain loans and access other financial services without having to leave the comfort of their own homes. So far, Alfa Bank, Home Credit Bank, ForteBank and Chocotravel have already connected to the system.
  • Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan’s capital, is testing the new Face Pay system on its public transportation networks. A cooperation agreement for the implementation of the system, which allows public transportation customers to pay using facial recognition technology, has already been signed by Astana LRT, ForteBank and Bus Fleet No. 1.

Belarus:

  • Three Belarusian financial institutions launched a pilot biometric authentication project last year. The project allows customers of the three institutions to use facial or voice recognition to log into each financial institution’s mobile application, as opposed to using more standard passwords.

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