NatWest introduces selfie-powered current account opening

NatWest introduces selfie-powered current account opening

NatWest customers can now open a current account within minutes on their phones simply by taking a selfie.

New customers submit a snap of themselves and a photo ID and, using AI, a real-time biometric check compares the two images. Then the ID document is authenticated.

Removing the need to visit a branch or post documents slashes the time it takes to open an account, says NatWest, with some people completing verification in four minutes.

However, the bank stresses, customers can start, pause and come back to their application if they don’t have the correct documents. They can also access the application from different devices.

The new service uses technology from ID verification outfit HooYu and is being rolled out after a pilot involving 60,000 people which found a sharp drop in fraudulent applications.

Frans Woelders, chief digital officer, NatWest, says: "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."

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