x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE plan to turn your Emirates ID into a credit card

Emirates Identity Authority is in talks with the Central Bank to enable financial transactions on the ID card by 2015.

Al Hilal Bank is currently experimenting with the possibility of using the Emirates ID card as a pre-paid credit card. Sarah Dea / The National
Al Hilal Bank is currently experimenting with the possibility of using the Emirates ID card as a pre-paid credit card. Sarah Dea / The National

The Emirates Identity Authority (EIA) is in talks with the Central Bank to enable financial transactions on the ID card by 2015.

Beyond using the card as a form of authentication and identification, the EIA is keen to give it more functionality. It is working with both public and private sector entities including banks and telecoms companies to make use of the chip to enable their own services directly on to the card.

"The trends show that the cards and payment industry is going more towards convergence, interoperability and integration," said Ali Mohamed Al Khouri, the director general of the EIA at the Cards Middle East exhibition in Dubai.

"That is staggering news ... and is prompting more integrated electronics services, which is not limited to the internet but also to mobile and fixed phones, kiosk machines, besides the traditional service delivery channels."

The authority is currently conducting a study with 400 international organisations in both the public and private sector to see how the ID card can be used in conjunction with their services.

Already the likes of Al Hilal Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi are using the card for some of their services including opening new accounts and registering for loans.

Al Hilal Bank is currently experimenting with the possibility of using the ID card as a pre-paid credit card.

With its near-field communication capability, it can already be used as an e-gate card. EIA is also working with both Etisalat and du to test out the potential of this technology in smartphones, whereby the smartphone can be used as an e-gate card as well as a Nol card to ride the Metro.

"The biggest challenge today facing government is identifying and authenticating users. The ID card is enabling and simplifying e-government processes and services," said Mr Al Khouri.

"We have many e-government services being offered nowadays, but some are not being offered because the entities can't establish or prove the identity of online users."

The chip on the card can be used by other organisations to provide verification and authentication of the user for their services, which can cut time and costs.

"There is so much dependency on paper verification. We have to create a paradigm shift in the mindset of the government and government organisations to take this card and enable new and interesting initiatives," said Mr Al Khouri.

"You will see some convergence of ID cards in the UAE. Some people call it ID card, I call it ID management infrastructure. What we are trying to do is to rely more on databases and going to give [businesses] another layer to authenticate people.

"With the way technology is going, we will need to redefine what we mean by privacy and security."

 

thamid@thenational.ae