The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will roll out Smart ID and Passport facilities to several more bank branches in 2020.
The DHA launched Smart ID cards in 2013. These cards are a modern alternative to green ID books – which will eventually be phased out – and offer automated identity verification.
They boast a contactless chip and advanced security features including public and symmetric-key encryption.
The E-Home Affairs system was launched in 2016 and lets South Africans apply and pay for their card or a passport on the Home Affairs website.
Applicants can then collect their card or passport at a Home Affairs office or the nearest supported bank branch that offers a Home Affairs Live Capture Service.
Once a card or passport is ready for collection, it can be picked up at one of these bank branches. Users will need to provide biometric authentication to receive their documents.
The process saves citizens the trouble of waiting in long queues at a Home Affairs office, where this type of task can be more time-consuming.
Currently, the E-Home Affairs branches are available at 16 bank locations across the country, most of which are in Gauteng.
MyBroadband spoke to South Africa’s major banks, which confirmed that 19 new locations will be added in the coming months.
Managing Executive of Physical Channels at Absa Retail and Business, Tshiwela Mhlantla, said that DHA IT equipment installation is currently in progress at ten new branches.
These are expected to be completed during the course of the year, she said.
The branches where the service will be rolled out are Rosebank Mall, Menlyn Maine, Key West, Claremont, Stellenbosch, Waterfall Mall, Woodlands, Pinetown, Fourways Mall, and Randburg.
Mlhantla said the bank’s customers are embracing the service.
“Although only four branches are currently operational, the branches process roughly 1,000 smart card applications per month and around 1,200 passport applications on average,” Mlhlanta said.
FNB Points of Presence CEO Lee-Anne van Zyl confirmed that the bank was expanding the service to more branches across the country in 2020.
“The Bank continues to work with the Department of Home Affairs to explore making the service available in all major provincial hubs across South Africa, with additional sites in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng as priority.”
Van Zyl said the names of the additional branches would be announced in due course.
She also noted that the bank has seen enormous interest from customers in the service.
“To date, we have issued over 200,000 Smart ID cards and passports since the inception of the partnership with the Department.”
Nedbank said it will extend E-Home Affairs services to another four branches in 2020
“Service at Nedbank St. George’s Mall, Rustenburg Square, Nedbank Durban North, and Nedbank North Cape Mall is planned to go live between February and June 2020,” the bank said.
It said customers are generally positive and appreciate the convenience of the service. The bank said the service was particularly popular with first-time ID applicants and passport seekers.
“Usage numbers do vary depending on whether it is during a school holiday period or not. Numbers vary between 30 and 70 applications per day per site.”
Standard Bank spokesperson Ross Linstrom said the bank will open five more branches which offer SmartID and Passport services.
Two of the branches – one in Kingsmead in Durban, KZN and another in Jubilee Mall in Hammanskraal, North West – came online on 10 February.
The other three branches – in Port Elizabeth, Kathu, and Promenade Mall in Cape Town – are expected to open by the end of March 2020.
Confirmed upcoming E-Home Affairs branches
Below are the confirmed upcoming bank branches, as well as the bank branches that currently offer Smart ID card and Passport services.
Current E-Home Affairs branches
This article originally appeared on MyBroadband.