BNZ signs up to RealMe

Last updated 05:00 11/02/2014

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New customers will be able to open bank accounts at Bank of New Zealand without stepping into a branch after the bank joined Kiwibank and TSB Bank in signing up to the Government's ''RealMe'' online identification service.

BNZ said it was the first of the ''big banks'' to adopt RealMe. It was originally developed to let government agencies provide secure services to the public over the internet, before the Cabinet decided in 2012 to also open it up to the private sector.

Customers who have already enrolled in RealMe will be able to open BNZ transaction accounts online from next week.

BNZ retail director Andy Symons said RealMe would make life ''faster and easier for new BNZ customers while satisfying the high standards of identity verification required under New Zealand law''.
Kiwibank and TSB signed up to use RealMe in August.

Kiwibank spokesman Bruce Thompson said it had yet to let new customers open accounts online but it would be its ''chosen solution for online authentication''.

TSB chief information officer Marie Collins said a small number of customers had used RealMe and the bank's iphone and android apps to open accounts. She expected that would become more common once more people became of RealMe.

Westpac has also signalled it will use the service and ASB Bank has said it is evaluating it.

To enrol in RealMe, people must register their mobile phone, username and password online and then visit a specially-equipped Postshop to be digitally photographed. The photograph is checked against passport records to confirm the person's identity.

Former Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain has previously described RealMe as the "online equivalent of walking up to a counter and showing your driver's licence or passport". 

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- Fairfax Media

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