Foreigners advised to visit bank branches for biometric verification

HÀ NỘI — The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has issued guidance for commercial banks to serve the registration of biometric data for foreign residents in Việt Nam, when a new regulation on mandatory biometric verification for first-time mobile banking users or large valued transactions takes effect early next month, an SBV official said.

Lê Hoàng Chính Quang, deputy director of the SBV’s Information Technology Department, told Việt Nam News that foreign customers, who do not have chip-based ID cards, can visit bank branches and bank staff will guide them to register biometric information directly at the counter. The customers’ biometric information will be stored in the banks’ database to use for next transactions.

The SBV on Thursday also directed commercial banks to ensure online banking transactions to run smoothly for all customers, including foreign residents in Việt Nam, when the mandatory biometric verification policy takes effect. Under the policy on implementing security solutions in online payments and bank card payments, biometric verification of facial recognition will be required to finalise online banking transactions of VNĐ10 million (US$391) or more, starting from July 1 this year.

Commercial banks have sent their customers notifications and reminders to update their facial images and chip-based ID cards by July 1 to avoid disruptions in high-value online transactions. However, with the directive looming many users have reported difficulties in updating their data.

In response to these difficulties, banks have stated that customers can update their data online via the banking app or visit bank branches with their chip-based ID cards for in-person verification using NFC (Near Field Communication) readers.

Under Thursday’s directive, to ensure online banking transactions for customers to run smoothly under the mandatory biometric verification policy, the SBV required commercial banks to prepare contingency measures, have hotlines ready and arrange for staff to be on 24/7 service to promptly guide and support customers in registering and using biometric authentication information.

Banks must also actively coordinate with the Police Department for Administrative Management of Social Order’s National Population Database Center and other relevant organisations to prepare plans to handle difficulties and problems raised in the process of registering and using biometric authentication services.

The banks will also be expected to deploy technical solutions to ensure security and safety of information and customer data, comply with legal regulations on personal data protection and information system security and safety.

To prevent transaction congestion and provide timely customer support, the SBV also encourages commercial banks that have completed the implementation of biometric verification to promptly provide the service to customers.

According to the SBV, 60 financial institutions have implemented customer verification using chip-based ID cards at branches, 49 institutions via mobile apps and 22 institutions with the VNeID electronic identification application.

To verify biometric data for the first time, users need to log into the banking app, select the 'Update Information' feature (name may vary by app), scan their face, capture both sides of their ID card and use the phone’s NFC reader to scan the chip-based ID card. Finally, confirm the information and complete OTP verification.

Traditional verification methods like passwords and OTPs are increasingly vulnerable to attacks, while biometric verification, unique to each individual, offers stronger protection.

However, a security expert cautioned that protecting biometric data is crucial and without proper security measures, this information could also become a target for cybercriminals.