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Thailand bank first to use facial recognition tech to open accounts

According to a recent report, the fifth largest bank in Thailand has introduced facial recognition through electronic Know Your Customer (e-KYC) technology for verifying the identities of people as they open a deposit account.

Under the Bank of Thailand’s regulatory sandbox, the technology enables an upgrade of the bank’s verification process and accuracy toward international standards. Now available for customers at various branches, the facial recognition for e-KYC will also be deployed when customers open their passbook via the mobile application by the end of the second quarter.

The breakthrough technology reflects the bank’s commitment as a leader in digital banking and innovation development for ultimate customer satisfaction, according to the bank’s Head of Retail Banking and Distribution group.

The identity proofing process using facial comparison will enhance the security of identity verification, reduce the risk of mistakes in the proofing process, and prevent identity theft and fraudulent transactions, while maintaining a convenient and speedy process for account opening, said the Head.

In its initial state, the facial recognition technology will be adopted when customers open a deposit account by matching the cardholder’s face to the photo on their citizen ID card as presented at the branch.

The bank’s staff will use the comparison result when considering allowing a passbook account to be opened.

Meanwhile, the bank is planning extensive use of facial recognition technology for opening an account via a mobile application within the second quarter of 2019, it was noted.

Pushing Thailand 4.0

This move will help Thailand achieve some of its Thailand 4.0 goals.

Thailand 4.0 is an economic model that aims to unlock the country from several economic challenges resulting from past economic development models which place emphasis on agriculture (Thailand 1.0), light industry (Thailand 2.0), and advanced industry (Thailand 3.0).

Part of this vision is to create a value-based economy that is driven by innovation, technology and creativity. The model aims to increase Research and Development (“R&D”) expenditure to 4% of GDP, increase economic growth rate to full capacity rate of 5-6% within 5 years.

The Thai Government is working to encourage and foster innovation and R&D to digitalise the economy.

According to a publication, the framework for digital economy development was proposed with the vision that the digital economy will enable growth in economic, business, social, and governmental sectors within Thailand, with major policy goals including:

  • establishing digital infrastructure with sufficient capacity and coverage to support seamless service delivery;
  • using digital technology as a tool to bring a better quality of life and equal access to public services of all citizens (i.e., digital Inclusion);
  • promoting the growth of innovative businesses that utilize digital technology;
  • building digital skills and transforming business practices so that Thai businesses – especially the SMEs – are positioned to compete successfully in the digital economy;
  • increasing national GDP with a major contribution from digital industries;
  • creating a digital business ecosystem that responds to the dynamics of the digital economy; and,
  • significantly enhancing overall ICT readiness as assessed by global indices.

Another publication noted that while the government is doing its part, the private sector has an important role in supporting investment, innovation, and disrupting markets through the creation of new products and services.

It is, thus, clear that the aforementioned bank is taking up the mantle and leading in the adoption of new and innovative tech that will drive Thailand’s digital economy goals as well as provide better, time- and cost-efficient customer service.


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