Strike a pose: KBC wants your selfies to open new bank account

Bank introducing new mobile app that allows users to open account in five minutes


Those who spend their hours preening for the camera can now put their posing to good use by taking selfies and using them to open a bank account.

KBC Bank Ireland has introduced a new first-of-its-kind mobile app that enables users to use selfies to help verify their identity and open a current account in less than five minutes. What’s more, you’ll be able to use the new account immediately and, the bank will pay you €5 for opening it.

The bank, which is investing €1.5 billion in digital transformation technology, claims users can open a new account in just five steps via the app.

Customers simply download the app and enter their personal details. KBC then sends on an activation code before asking users to take a photograph of their driving licence and a selfie. Once these are uploaded, customers confirm their details, answer a couple of legal questions and add their digital debit card to their Apple of Android Pay wallets.

Rather than having to wait a few days for a card to arrive in the post, customers can immediately use the digital card to make purchases with KBC giving €5 to every new account so that users can run out and try it.

The new app has been developed at KBC’s innovation hub in Dublin, with plans to role out the app in other markets, including the bank’s home territory, Belgium.

The innovation hub, which employs more than 60 people locally, is a testing ground for a number of new initiatives, including a plan to offer payments via Fitbit.


“We’ve whittled down the time to open a new active bank account from over a week to just five minutes, entirely paper-free. It’s never been easier or more attractive to bank at KBC, and we’re excited for future developments to come,” said Eddie Dillon, the bank’s director of innovation.

KBC has been busy trying to attract more customers but, like all banks in Ireland it faces an uphill struggle. Just 3,600, or 0.06 per cent, of the country’s 5.2 million banking customers switched their current account in the first half of last year, according to figures from the Central Bank.

However, there is evidence that making it easier to open an account does help gain customers, hence KBC’s new app.

Two recent entrants to the Irish market, Revolut and N26, which are both digital-only banks, have gained more than 40,000 and 10,000 customers respectively in Ireland in a short space of time for their easy-to-activate accounts.

KBC has 250,000 customers in Ireland. It employs about 1,000 people locally.