At the launch of Reliance Jio on Thursday, while the 4G plans and offer grabbed all the headlines, one of the points that was greeted with enthusiastic applause was that Jio is bringing in a process of eKYC based on theAadhaar card. Reliance Jio isnt’ the first Indian teleco operator to bring in eKYC – Airtel and Vodafone, the two biggest operators in India, have also started rolling in Aadhaar-enabled eKYC. In case you’re wondering what that means, how it affects you, and how it will work with Reliance Jio SIM activation, then you’ve come to the right place.
What is KYC?
KYC, or Know Your Customer, is a process of a business verifying the identity of its clients – eKYC means taking the process online, doing away with manual paper checks, and thus ideally speeding up the process so that there is greater convenience for the users, and greater efficiency for the businesses.
Typically, when you apply for a new SIM card, you have to carry a number of documents with you. You need a proof of addrsess, a proof of identity, and photographs, and then you have to attach these to a form, fill that up, and finally you get to apply for your card. Next, these forms have to be picked up – it’s faster if you do the filing at a telco store, though since many of the companies also let you register through small distributors, the picking up of forms can add another day to the process – and then the details have to be documented by the company, before your SIM will be verified.
Most companies say that your number will be activated in an hour or so, but as anyone who has bought a new connection knows, it’s rarely that fast. At the Reliance Jio launch, Chairman Mukesh Ambani even noted that people had to wait for hours to get their service activated. In our experience getting two Reliance Jio SIM cards activated, it took more than a day, in each case.
How does it work?
To simplify the process, eKYC uses your Aadhaar card to verify your details quickly. This is a service offered by the UIDAI, and enables businesses to quickly carry out KYC norms. To do so, you need to give the store you Aadhaar number, and then your fingerprint is scanned in the store and matched with the Aadhaar database to verify your identity. That means that you can walk into a Reliance (or any other) store with just your Aadhaar card and get the verification done, and since the process happens electronically instead of verifying manual documents, it’ll also work much more quickly.
The benefits are obvious – you can speed up the process of applying for a SIM greatly, and also speed up the activation of a SIM, as Reliance Jio says it will do.