Russian banks develop Unified Biometrics System
19 February 2018 17:34 GMT

Rostelecom, together with Tinkoff Bank, VTB Bank and Pochta Bank, has presented a beta version of its Unified Biometrics System (“UBS”), a digital platform developed at the request of the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media and the Bank of Russia.

The beta version features all the key components to deliver basic human identification functionality and is ready to be integrated into the banks’ information systems.
The UBS combines voice and facial recognition based on a photographic image to provide remarkably precise identification of a living individual. For each identification parameter, the system uses biometric solutions from a number of vendors.

Its security mechanisms will deny authentication if the match score against the reference biometric data stored in the UBS is too low. The digital platform will utilise Rostelecom's secure cloud infrastructure accessible by the banks via special communication channels of the Interagency Electronic Interaction System. In the course of their transmission to the UBS, user data will be protected by domestic encryption algorithms.

Oliver Hughes, Chairman of Tinkoff Bank’s Management Board, said:
“Tinkoff Bank has been running a branchless model for over a decade now. To be able to do this, we have built a network of smart couriers that deliver our products country-wide. Remote biometric identification will facilitate interactions with clients for us and other online banks, while also giving the clients access to a wider range of attractive offers. We welcome this step by the industry, and we are confident that the Unified Biometrics System will foster the development of the entire financial market through improved competition and customer experience. At Tinkoff Bank, we have our technology insights into testing voice prints and facial recognition based on a photo, and we will be happy to share our experience with Rostelecom and other partners working on the UBS."

Alexander Aivazov, Vice President of Business Development at Rostelecom, commented:
“Rostelecom started working on the Unified Biometrics System just about six months ago. Over this short time, we succeeded in overcoming the regulatory barriers that had been impeding the development of biometrics in Russia: the government adopted amendments to the legislation enabling the use of biometric authentication when performing legally significant acts. Concurrently, we were looking for the best fitting software and equipment vendors, and negotiating with the banks that could be the first to test the technology and accumulate user biometric data. As a result, we have come up with a beta version that will serve as the basis for collecting and verifying the biometric data starting July 2018, once the system sees its commercial launch.”

Vladimir Verkhoshinsky, a member of VTB Bank Management Board, noted:
“At the moment, digital channels account for up to 40% of our sales, and the launch of the Unified Biometrics System comes as an absolutely logical step in line with the global trend of digitisation of services. It will open up new vistas in serving our clients, with most of the banking products like deposits, savings accounts, loans, bank cards, payments and transfers available remotely, without visiting the office. I am sure our clients will appreciate this.”

The commercial launch of the Unified Biometrics System is slated for 1 July 2018.
“Going forward, the Unified Biometrics System will help simplify interactions and digitise quite a number of processes, such as rendering public, social, and national transportation security services. It will even make voting and remote census possible,” says Mikhail Bondarenko, CEO of RT Labs.