AxisBankAxis Bank has partnered with Visa to launch first ‘eKYC’ facility in the country. Anyone with an Aadhar card can open bank account within minutes by using their biometric data through this service.

The facility is currently available in 1,000 Axis Bank branches across 400 centres. The bank plans to extend the eKYC facility to over 2,000 branches across India by end of October 2013.

eKYC service will allow one to authorise banks to receive an electronic copy of their identify proof and address. Aadhaar’s eKYC also allows users to share information such as name, address, DOB, gender, photograph and mobile number, which is collected during enrollment. This will allow instant and paperless verification of of one’s identity and address.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had launched three Aadhaar enabled services back in May this year: an authentication services using Iris, an authentication service using one time pin (OTP) and an electronic know your customer (eKYC) service.

Axis Bank is using Visa’s network to access Aadhar information. It’s not clear why they need to go through a third-party network to access the information instead of creating a direct link to Aadhar database.

On the telecom front, Reliance Communications had said in May that it would be using Aadhaar’s online authentication to activate new connections. Vodafone had also carried out pilot project offering Aadhaar based verification in October 2012.

The Indian government has tried to make Aadhaar mandatory, by linking essential services with it, and allowing government departments to make it mandatory for particular schemes: for example, in Delhi, it is mandatory for marriage licenses. It has also been linked to schemes such as LPG subidies. The Supreme Court of India recently said that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for government services.

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