Austrians to open bank accounts from home using online video ID service

IDnow Video-Ident service in Austrian bank Erste Bank und Sparkassen
VIDEO STAR: Current and student bank accounts can be opened using a mobile or home PC

Customers of Austria’s Erste Bank und Sparkassen can now open a current or student account using video-based online identification through either a mobile device or desktop computer, saving the “time and effort involved in visiting a branch office”, the bank says.

The bank has integrated video identification solutions provider IDnow’s Video-Ident solution across its digital banking platform to enable the service, which will become available for applying for other products over the course of this year.

A new customer’s identity is verified via a live video connection, taking no more than five minutes. Pictures are taken of the front and back of a government-issued photo ID document, such as a passport or national identity card, and a photo of the customer is taken and compared to that shown on the ID.

“A special feature for Austrian citizens is that, in addition to passports and national identity cards, they can also use their driving licences for video identification,” the bank says.

‘Significant advantage’

“We are the first large Austrian bank to offer this innovative option to new customers,” says Thomas Schaufler from Erste Bank. “Our introduction of online video identification also eliminates what had previously been a significant competitive advantage for fintech companies.”

The move follows Austria’s Financial Market Authority’s (FMA) approval to enable banks to offer video-based online identification services on 3 January 2017. Prior to the FMA’s approval, banks had not been permitted to provide such a service in Austria.

The number of online-based current account openings at Erste Bank und Sparkassen grew by 40% last year, according to the bank.