Banks in India will be verifying applicants for Visa-branded payment cards using the Unique Identification Authority of India’s Aadhaar citizen identification-number scheme, a top official from the government authority tells PaymentsSource.

Under Aadhaar, the authority will provide every resident of India an identification number ascertained after undergoing fingerprint, facial recognition and iris scans. Card applicants can provide the number, and the bank can run similar scans to compare against the images in the Aadhaar database.

“We plan to issue unique identity numbers to 600 million residents over the next four years,” said the official, who was attending an Information Technology conference in Bangalore earlier this month.

Every individual registered under the authority will be able to get a payment card from a Visa Inc. partner bank after his identity is verified through the Aadhaar scheme, he said, noting Visa is partnering with U.S.-based payments processor Total System Service Inc., or TSYS, which is the biometric authentication technology partner.

“What we will see then is that the card company, or the partner bank, will be able to verify the applicant’s identity by fingerprint or optical impression,” the official adds.

Visa and TSYS declined PaymentsSource’s request for comment.

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