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RBI puts on hold Aadhaar-based biometric authentication in PoS terminals

Yet another blow for Aadhaar project: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has put on hold its decision to make Aadhaar-based biometric authentication for transactions mandatory, reports The Economic Times. Supreme Court had earlier asked the government not to link Aadhaar with any social benefit schemes and subsidies. In the testing phase, biometric authentication took up to 30 seconds even on 3G connections, as opposed to 5 seconds otherwise. This means that the banks can continue to expand Point-of-Sale (PoS) terminals, till RBI decides to come up with a workaround. In a November circular, RBI had given banks an option to start using EMV chips and pin or shift to Aadhaar, as additional factors of authentication to secure the present payment infrastructure. The circular followed a recommendation by a working group on Securing Card Present Transactions in 2011. Banks are worried about the cost This move was opposed by banks that felt that they shouldn’t have to spend crores to upgrade the infrastructure needed to enable biometric authentication. Apart from procuring ATMs that support this feature, they also had to upgrade to broadband at PoS terminals. The other issue they had was the high failure rate with biometric authentication, which means it could take longer for each transaction to be completed. RBI's move was also questioned by MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar. Procuring ATMs and PoS terminals with biometric authentication would have been difficult for banks as they say there are not enough manufacturers who can supply units that can accept traditional cards with magnetic strips, EMV pin and chip and biometric…

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