Written by: Emma Lunn
New Natwest customers can open a current account by taking a picture with their smartphone and uploading one piece of photographic identification.
The move means customers will no longer need to go to branch to open an account or send ID documents in the post. Instead Natwest will use artificial intelligence and real-time biometric checks to confirm a customers’ selfie matches the image in their photographic ID.
The bank’s new current account opening process has been launched in conjunction with ID verification experts HooYu. It follows a successful pilot involving more than 60,000 customers, with fraudulent applications dropping significantly during the trial period.
Other banks which allow accounts to be opened with a selfie include Metro Bank, Lloyds and HSBC, as well as digital banks Monzo and Starling.
Frans Woelders, NatWest’s chief digital officer, said: “We know customers want to be able to open accounts at a time and a place that suits them and not have to worry about precious ID documents going missing in the post, or taking time out of their day to go to a branch. That’s why we’re making it easier, safer and faster to open and access accounts, allowing customers to get on with the things that matter.”
David Pope, marketing director at HooYu, said: “In today’s digital age, customers expect to be able to do everything on-demand, they don’t want to have to go into a branch or wait for a day or two for account opening to be completed. Our work with NatWest balances the twin demands of compliance and convenience. Our unique identity platform that combines many forms of identity verification technology is designed not only to bring extra security into the account opening process but also to make customer on-boarding simpler and quicker.”