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Anyone who wants to buy a either a prepaid or postpaid SIM in Thailand will soon have to submit a scan of their fingerprint.
Fingerprint scanning, which will be be mandatory from February 2017, will help to provide more protection for consumers using their smartphones for payment transactions and mobile banking, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has announced.
The NBTC has urged all existing users to add their fingerprints to the new identification system for the benefit of their own security.
However, secretary-general Takorn Tantasith did say that the new fingerprint system is not mandatory for existing mobile users, although it will be for anyone wanting to purchase a new Thai SIM card, Thai media reported.
Mr Takorn said that scan of fingerprints will stored securely on NBTC servers.
He added that the new system is an improvement on the existing requirement to provide identification such as an ID card or passport when purchasing a SIM card in Thailand.
Mr Takorn said that the introduction of the new fingerprint system comes in response to an increase in fraud, whereby victims were targeted through mobile banking apps and online payments.
Previously, Mr Takorn highlighted the case of a True customer who lost nearly one million baht after someone used his mobile phone to withdraw money from his K-Bank account.
An investigation into the matter revealed that fraudsters had obtained a copy of the victim’s ID card and by using this were able to get another SIM card from from True which they then used to get a one time password which gave them access to his K-Bank online account.
The fingerprint ID system was first proposed in August and approved in September. Today’s report says that all mobile operators have until February to introduce the new system.
Thai currently has 103 million mobile subscribers, with 14 million using mobile banking.
In February 2015, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) introduced new rules that all mobile phone users in Thailand had to be registered.
The NBTC said the requirement to register users of prepaid SIM cards was in the interest of national security.