July 25, 2017

Identification requirement for prepaid cards


Since July 1st, everyone who wishes to purchase a prepaid card must present their ID. The modification of §111 of the German Telecommunication Act – a series of counter-terrorism measures adopted by the German parliament – then came into effect. According to this law, everyone who wishes to purchase a prepaid phone card must present their ID and get registered. Mobile providers are faced with a gigantic number of activations as prepaid card users represent 47% of the entire market.

Besides physical registration and identification in stores or post offices, video identification plays a big role for all mobile providers. Especially for the large number of prepaid cards sold at gas stations, supermarkets and online stores: it is the easiest and most flexible solution. The card is activated as soon as user ID has been verified through video chat and data has been transferred to the mobile provider. There are no additional costs for the user.

In order to prevent criminals from avoiding the registration requirement by simply using foreign prepaid cards, other European countries such as Belgium for example, are likely to adopt similar measures in the foreseeable future.