Anglican Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Desmond Tutu, shows his new smart identity card, he received in 2013. (File, Rodger Bosch, AFP)
Cape Town - South Africans can finally apply for their smart ID cards at local banks following the launch of the eChannel programme.
President Jacob Zuma launched the eChannel portal on Thursday last week in Midrand, in partnership with Absa, First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank.
The new ID cards were announced in September 2015 with national roll-out in the banks planned from May this year.
The smart ID online application process is currently limited to people aged between 30 and 35 years old. However, the department of home affairs (DoH) said that it will be expanded to all South Africans shortly.
In partnership with the department of home affairs, First National Bank and Absa have already announced initial roll-outs of the smart ID application process at selected branches.
“The service is currently only available at the following four branches (Menlyn Square, Centurion Lifestyle, 4 Merchant Place and Towers). A national roll-out to selected branches in each province will be executed within the next year,” FNB spokesperson Dumezulu Shiburi told Fin24.
Shiburi said that the IDs will be issued within two weeks.
Meanwhile, Absa has also listed exact branches where it has been piloting a smart ID roll-out.
“In conjunction with the department of home affairs, Absa is currently piloting the Smart ID and passport services at three branches (Absa Towers North and Ghandi Square in Johannesburg and Absa Centurion Lifestyle in Tshwane),” an Absa spokesperson told Fin24.
Smart ID process
READ: Home affairs launches eChannel project
Obtaining a smart ID is expected to take quicker than applying for a traditional identity document.
“Remember how it used to take hours of queuing and around 54 days to get your green barcoded ID book? Those days are gone, as it will now take you less than 30 minutes in an Absa branch. Within 12 days, you can collect your Smart ID card,” Absa wrote on its official blog.
Smart IDs also have a number of enhanced security features that make it harder for criminals to steal personal information and commit fraud.
READ: 5 ways to prevent ID theft
As part of the process, you create an online appointment and apply in the bank by submitting your fingerprints for verification.
“When logging on to the eChannel, you’ll need to create an account and fill out the application form. After you’ve completed the application form and submitted the necessary documentation, you’ll receive a text confirming your booking,” said the Absa blog.
Would you apply for your smart ID at a bank or home affairs? Let us know
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