Bidvest Bank, a South African market leader in foreign exchange services for individuals, businesses and corporations, has chosen to move to an online banknote and identity document verification service supplied by International Reference Systems (IRS) through its global partner IMX Software.

The IRS service replaces the printed MRI guides that Bidvest Bank has been using in over 130 branches countrywide. IRS allows cashiers to instantly access high resolution images of banknotes from the online database. IRS also provides detailed information on security features such as watermarks, microprints, protective foil, security threads, UV reactions, intaglio and anti-copying devices including holograms and kinegrams. Cashiers can see real-time reports on which banknotes are in authorised circulation. The IRS administration function allows Bidvest Bank to customise the currencies the bank buys and/or sells and post its own alerts on counterfeits in circulation. IRS also provides a comprehensive database of passports and identity documents for all countries. This includes validation of the machine readable zone (MRZ) on passports – greatly assisting the detection of fraudulent documentation.

Says Rob Stansell, managing director of IMX South Africa: “Up until now, most bureau de change firms have depended on printed guides to authenticate banknotes. This approach is unsatisfactory, given the limitations of paper and the reality that there is usually only one guide in the branch, meaning tellers have to break away from the customer to fetch it.”

Says Sarah de Bayer, project manager at Bidvest Bank: “With IRS, our cashiers can quickly validate any banknote under normal, UV and infrared light against the IRS database and view all the security features. They can also validate passports and ID documents that they are unfamiliar with or when they deem a transaction to be suspicious. IRS provides a comprehensive illustrated glossary of security features which we see as a valuable training tool. Also, IRS can be easily integrated with our teller system which we plan to do when we launch our new retail banking system in 2016. This will allow cashiers to go straight from the transaction screen to the images of the currency they are working with.”