Biometric data collection appears costly to Russian banks

Maria Nikolova

The minimum expenses for collecting biometric data and sending it to the Single Biometric System are around RUB 4 million for a bank with one branch.

The expenses of Russian banks are set to grow due to new requirements concerning the collection of biometric data and sending this information to the Single Biometric System. As per the new requirements, by January 1, 2019, 20% of a bank’s branches have to connect to the System. By July 1, 2019, this proportion has to reach 60%, whereas by the end of 2019, all branches of banks have to connect to the Single Biometric System.

The change is set to be pricey, according to expert estimates quoted by Russian newspaper Kommersant.

The estimates take into account the “basic elements” that a bank must have in place in order to gather the required data and to transfer it to the System. The list of such basic elements includes (inter alia) HSM module, certain OS, as well as anti-virus programs.

The minimum expenses for a bank with one branch are put at RUB 4 million. This, of course, is not the end to it, as the expenses for each additional branch will be at least RUB 130,000. Once connected to the System, each bank has to set aside RUB 800,000 for maintenance purposes per year.

At the start of August, Rostelecom said the data of 1,200 individuals has been transferred to the System. Less than 10% of Russia’s banks are said to be transferring biometric data to the System at present.

The idea behind biometric data collection is to allow bank clients to be able to make use of certain services (transfer of money, for instance) without visiting the physical office of a bank. For that, an individual has to submit certain data – the bank usually takes a photo of the client and records his/her voice. Obtaining such data is seen as the easiest and cheapest, as compared to taking one’s fingerprints.

The purpose of the Single Biometric System is to allow a client of one bank to make use of his/her data at another bank.

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