Aadhaar Chip Based Card. How much will you pay?

How which will you pay for an Aadhaar Chip Based Card?

Email me at nshantin (at) gmail.com

With 21 crores Aadhaar numbers issued and another 40 crores in pipeline, future Payments Channels will be built around Aadhaar based identification.

In the last few months, the pace of Aadhaar based authentication is picking up, with various State/Central Governments fine-tuning their process.

The private sector too has evinced interest with Vodafone being the first off the block. Vodafone in Andhra Pradesh has launched a POC (Proof of Concept) to accept Aadhaar eKYC for its mobile connections.

UIDAI has already made it clear, that Aadhaar Biometrics cannot be the sole authentication mode. The biometrics has to be ‘an additional authentication tool’.  Hence, in the Vodafone model, the first authentication tool is the Aadhaar letter and the 2nd authentication tool is the Aadhaar biometrics.

The details are decoded by Bar Code readers and then the biometrics is validated.

If the readers remember the initial thoughts on Aadhaar, the understanding was that Aadhaar is only a NUMBER, and other departments while issuing Smart Cards (Driving licence, IT PAN Cards, etc) will incorporate the Aadhaar number in the respective Smart Card.

However, that is not still a success, and as such the Aadhaar letter is by default the first authentication tool.

What does this mean?

a)    The Aadhaar letter has to be safely preserved.

b)   The original Aadhaar letter issued by UIDIA is required, as the Aadhaar letters generated through the website, will not have the Bar-coding.

c)    Barcodes will not work if Xerox of the Aadhaar letter is provided

d)   In case the Aadhaar Letter is laminated, extra care should be taken that there are no air bubbles between the paper and the plastic sheet, otherwise the scanner will not able to read the information on the Aadhaar letter.

e)    In case of the Bar-Coding Reader is unable to read the matter due to various reasons, keying the Aadhaar number is an alternate. But in such a case, will it be as strong as an authentication tool.

Than what is the alternate?

An alternate could be the Aadhaar Chip Card.

Chip-based cards are those cards which have a small chip for storing the account information. Normally, the information is in an encrypted format.  Personal Identification Number (PIN) can be optional.

Yes, there is a cost involved for issuance of Chip based cards. But in the long run, this will be economical, if the Aadhaar Card will be the first authentication tool. However, as the numbers are huge, naturally Card Vendors would be willing to reduce their prices. Another motivating factor would be the ‘goodwill’, for associating with UIDAI-Aadhaar.

Additional resources:

Problems with Chip Based Cards

Dynamic Authentication

Re-disseminated by Prashant N. Banker by daytime, Blogger by night





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