Biometric chaos

June 28, 2019


THE instructions given by the State Bank of Pakistan to all banks to get biometrics of account holders by June 30 is causing difficulties to millions of account holders as either the information has not been properly disseminated or they are out of the country.

Some of the account holders have changed their mobile numbers or do not possess them. As a result, one can see chaos in many banks where customers are running from pillar to post to get biometrics done and are wasting several hours in this regard.

Some bank branches lack the capacity to entertain such a large number of customers as those who have not been able to get biometrics of their accounts will have their accounts blocked even before the deadline of June 30.

The Governor of State Bank and other high officials who imposed such a clumsy instruction to enforce biometrics are least mindful of the severe ordeals faced by millions of account holders. The SBP must review such a decision and instead of blocking the accounts of customers must extend the date till Dec 31. Instead of penalising account holders for the incompetence and irrational policy on biometrics, the SBP must get out of its comfort zone and see how millions of account holders are suffering.

Prof Dr Moonis Ahmar



AS per the direction of the State Bank of Pakistan, all account holders are directed to get their biometric verification done — including senior citizens. The problem is that most senior citizens don’t have finger prints or the impression is barely recognisable by the biometrics machine.

As a result the elderly have become rolling stones between Nadra and banks. What is even more troubling is the fact that the last date to do this is June 30 this means if the verification is not done by that time, their accounts will get blocked the following day.

I wish those making these decisions in the corridors of power would take the pains of the senior citizens into consideration. It is not easy for them to go to the bank every other day to sort out a problem that exists in the roots. I hope the SBP will reconsider its decision and exempt the elderly from the verification process.

Muhammad Azam



THERE exists great confusion and anxiety among the bank account holders regarding the consequences of not having biometric verifications of their bank accounts, especially senior citizens and Pakistanis in foreign countries. They have been maintaining joint accounts in Pakistan with their relatives or friends.

In most cases, the fingerprints of account holders over the age of 70 years do not give any impression on the device meant for this purpose.

However, in the case of biometric verification of mobile phone users, such citizens have got their SIMs registered in the names of their relatives which they would not dare do for their bank accounts.

Similarly, the joint bank account holders have been facing problems where one person’s verification has been completed but the other person’s verification is missing because either the other holder is a senior citizen or a non-resident Pakistani living abroad.

It is, therefore, suggested that for the guidance of public the State Bank of Pakistan should come out in the print media with the salient features of the scheme, repercussions for non-verification and the solutions for the problems.

After having the biometric verification done, account holders are still receiving text messages on their cellphones to have the biometric verification done.

This is because either the bankers are not properly equipped with the system or they do not issue any certificate or confirmation to the account holders in this regard after completing the process.

Zaki Hasan


Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2019