RBI may soon release video KYC norms for financial services firms

The Reserve Bank of India is likely to soon release video Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines for financial services companies, following multiple conversations with industry representatives on remote onboarding of customers, according to three people privy to the development.

Industry executives said the norms could be out within the next month, although there was no independent confirmation about the timeline. “There have been meetings with the RBI on this matter and the regulator has been interested in a video-based KYC process. This will come in place of an in-person verification conducted through bank representatives,” said a senior banker in the know of the matter. The banker did not wish to be named as the matter is still under the regulator’s purview.

ET understands that the RBI could permit a video-based KYC in which a bank representative may be present at the back end to look into the video of the consumer in order to do a live test and authenticate details with the submitted documents. RBI is understood to be not keen on an AI-based video authentication, which many industry players had proposed, said another person in the know. Emails sent to RBI went unanswered till press time.

A few banks and lending institutions have already started preparing for the implementation of video KYC guidelines, the sources said. The process could be used for multiple products such as remote onboarding of savings account customers, credit cards and others, they said. “Many of the non-banking lenders are also in different stages of implementation, with a few of them still in the design stages,” one of the sources said.

Further, the banker quoted above said there could be some relaxation on the 60,000 cap which the regulator has with respect to credit that can be extended to customers onboarded through remote KYC. “But, overall, what this will do is remove the feet-on-street model and help us build a truly digitised banking offering, which will help in overall financial inclusion,” he said.

The new-age lenders were the most affected when remote customer onboarding through Aadhaar was stopped after the Supreme Court banned private companies from accessing the biometric database. Even banking products like Kotak Mahindra Bank’s 811 for digital account opening and State Bank of India’s Yono customer acquisition through Aadhaar were stopped.

KYC has been a major hindrance for mobile wallet companies as well, who were relying on Aadhaar to onboard customers initially. Players like Ola Money, which had a captive base of users who were using the wallet to pay for cab rides, will now need to do a full KYC to keep their accounts operational. “A few of the players are still waiting for the rules to come out since they do not want to build something first and then rework it depending on how the rules are set,” said one of the persons quoted above.


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