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Banco de Portugal approves the opening of bank deposit accounts by video conference exclusively through digital channels

Bank customers will be able to open deposit accounts through digital channels (online and mobile), confirming their identification data by video conference. Banco de Portugal has approved an amendment to Notice of Banco de Portugal No 5/2013, allowing institutions having their head office or a branch in Portugal to open accounts exclusively through digital channels, i.e. without the customer’s physical presence at the Bank’s premises.

The amendment to Notice of Banco de Portugal No 5/2013 on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing obligations, which regulates, in particular, customer identification obligations when opening a bank account, will be published in the Official Gazette and will enter into force on the day following that of its publication. 

This initiative by Banco de Portugal reflects the growing digitalisation of banking products and services, bank customers’ new expectations and needs, and the importance of ensuring a level playing field between credit institutions having their head office in Portugal and those having their head office in other European Union countries.

Following a close dialogue with the institutions and other market players and an in-depth reflection on digital channel developments, Banco de Portugal has deemed it necessary to introduce amendments into Notice of Banco de Portugal No 5/2013, in order to provide for new mechanisms that, in the case of opening a bank deposit account at distance, make it possible to verify the customers’ identification data. 

Banco de Portugal further defines, by means of an Instruction, the technical requirements to be met by alternative procedures for verifying the customers’ identification data necessary to open an account or to enter into other business relationships using means of distance communication. 

Therefore, an Annex to the Instruction regulates the specific requirements applicable to the verification of the customers' identification data by video conference. The purpose of these requirements is to ensure the appropriate mitigation of money laundering and terrorist financing risks potentially associated with the use of means of distance communication.

Banco de Portugal permanently monitors technologically innovative solutions emerging in the market. In the future, other procedures may be regulated, enabling alternative verification, which may be deemed to have an identical security level.