eAadhaar and ignorant bank officials | Business Line–10.10.2017

The Aadhaar verification page

Have you ever tried to change your address in a bank using Aadhaar. The process is simple. But are bank officials aware of the nuances?

Surprisingly, only a few are. Especially when it comes to using Aadhaar as the address proof. Many officials are not even aware that e-KYC exists.

What happens if you don’t have the ‘original Aadhaar’ card “for verification”?

My first visit was to the private sector ICICI Bank. It was a suburban branch in Chennai.

I went to an official and said I had to change the address of my family members in their respective accounts. I told him we had Aadhaar for proof. He agreed.

First, it was the turn of my wife. She gave an eAadhaar printout. The official refused to accept it saying he wanted an “original Aadhaar card” for verification. My wife told him it was an e-Aadhaar which was perfectly valid. He refused. She then asked him if she could show him the Aadhaar in the official mAadhaar app. He refused again. He said there “were instructions from the top” to verify the Aadhaar only with the original Aadhaar card.

I asked him what he meant by original. He wanted the “one sent by the Aadhaar office”. I told him the ‘Aadhaar office’ doesn’t send the card to everyone – especially when there was an address change. But the official refused to budge. It was mandatory, he insisted.

My daughter, who was watching this showed a laminated colour print-out of her Aadhaar card and asked him if it was okay. “Is it original?”, he wondered. Yes, said my daughter. That was it. The official “verified” the details with the “original” card and proceeded to complete the address change process.

I went to the manager and asked him why they were not accepting eAadhaar or mAadhaar. He parroted the same line: They HAD to verify with the original. What I told him next made him worried: His offical had just accepted my daughter’s “original” Aadhaar card. How did the bank ensure that the card was really original?

The manager did not know what to say. When I insisted that the RBI had instructed banks to accept eAadhaar, he went to another official and asked whether they could use the UIDAI portal to verify eAadhaar. The official too, was not sure about it, but knew how to do it.

The manager came back, logged in to the UIDAI portal, and verified the eAadhaar. “We are not supposed to do this, but we are making an exception for you,” he said.

I was surprised by the ignorance of a manager of one of the biggest private sector banks.

Now, how do PSU officials do it?

The next, after a few weeks, was Bank of Baroda, again a suburban branch. The official was aware of how to verify e-Aadhaar. The process was over in minutes. So, the problem is not with UIDAI or RBI. The problem lies with the banks – and how well the officials are informed about policies and procedures.

The next time a bank refuses to accept e-Aadhaar as proof and insists of ‘original’ Aadhaar card, show them this:

RBI/2013-14/510

DBOD.AML.BC.No. 100/14.01.001/2013-14

March 4, 2014

The Chairpersons/CEOs of all Scheduled Commercial Banks

(Excluding RRBs)/Local Area Banks / All India Financial Institutions

Madam / Dear Sir,

Know Your Customer (KYC) Norms /Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Standards/ Combating of Financing of Terrorism (CFT)/Obligation of banks under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 –Recognising E-Aadhaar as an ‘Officially Valid Document’ under PML Rules

Please refer to paragraph 2.6 (B) (a) of our Master Circular DBOD.AML.BC. No. 24/14.01.001/ 2013-14 dated July 1, 2013 on Know Your Customer (KYC) Norms / Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Standards/Combating of Financing of Terrorism (CFT)/Obligation of banks under PMLA, 2002 which states that letter issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) containing details of name, address and Aadhaar number may be accepted as an ‘Officially Valid Document’. Further in terms of paragraph 2.6 (B) (d) of the Master Circular it has been advised to banks that, while opening accounts based on Aadhaar, if the address provided by the account holder is the same as that on Aadhaar letter, it may be accepted as a proof of both identity and address.

2. In this connection, a reference may be made to our circular DBOD.AML.BC. No. 44/14.01.001/2013-14 dated September 2, 2013, wherein, a decision to accept e-KYC service as a valid process for KYC verification under Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005 was advised. It was further advised that, the information containing demographic details and photographs made available from UIDAI as a result of e-KYC process (“which is in an electronic form and accessible so as to be usable for a subsequent reference”) may be treated as an ‘Officially Valid Document’ under PML Rules.

3. In this regard, it is clarified that, banks may accept e-Aadhaar downloaded from UIDAI website as an officially valid document subject to the following:

a) If the prospective customer knows only his/her Aadhaar number, the bank may print the prospective customer’s e-Aadhaar letter in the bank directly from the UIDAI portal; or adopt e-KYC procedure as mentioned in the circular referred in paragraph 2 above.

b) If the prospective customer carries a copy of the e-Aadhaar downloaded elsewhere, the bank may print the prospective customer’s e-Aadhaar letter in the bank directly from the UIDAI portal; or adopt e-KYC procedure as mentioned in the circular referred in paragraph 2 above; or confirm identity and address of the resident through simple authentication service of UIDAI.

4. Physical Aadhaar card/letter issued by UIDAI containing details of name, address and Aadhaar number received through post and e-KYC process mentioned in the circular referred in paragraph 2 above would continue to be accepted as an ‘Officially Valid Document’.

5. Banks may revise their KYC policy in the light of the above instructions and ensure strict adherence to the same.

Yours faithfully,

(Prakash Chandra Sahoo)

Chief General Manager

via eAadhaar and ignorant bank officials | Business Line

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