Russia will get a country-wide biometric database for financial services starting next summer, the central bank said. The system will expand access to banking by letting people open accounts without having to visit a branch and is a key milestone in digitizing financial services, the Bank of Russia said in a statement. The regulator said that data would only be stored with individuals’ consent. Legal changes needed for the system passed this month.

State-owned Rostelecom PJSC has been selected to run the database, which will collect personal data including images of faces, voice samples and, eventually, irises and fingerprints. Facial-recognition technology has been gaining consumer acceptance around the world, with Apple Inc.’s latest iPhone using it to unlock the device. In Russia, the authorities and government-linked companies are leading the charge. READ MORE