BANKSERVICE ENTERS THE VIRTUAL WORLD
We are moving towards a society where even filing income-tax forms will be done only through computers. These documents will be legitimate if senders have electronic signatures, said the Bankservice managing director Alexandar Tzintzarski. He informed that on July 21 Bankservice has filed an application in the Communications Regulation Commission to be licensed as certificator of electronic signatures. Bankservice needed several months to structure the system for assigning of electronic signatures in which BGN150,000 were invested. Every citizen can order the so-called B-Trust card - a personal electronic signature carrier, which issue costs BGN40. The card has a special chip, which bears the electronically generated individual code. Along with the card will be sold the reader - an electronic device which reads the code and is connected to the computer. There is an option the reader to be provided with a device for finger print identification of the client. Such type of reader costs up to EUR300.According to Tzintzarski, all Bulgarian banks already have electronic signatures. They are distributed among employees, who order payments through the Real Time Gross Settlement System (RINGS). In practice the only access to RINGS is through electronic signature, announced the Bankservice managing director. The electronic signature advantage is that it makes the document sent through the INTERNET absolutely legitimate and fitted to serve as an evidence in court. Before the appearance of this signature all agreements, letters, payment orders and other documents sent via INTERNET or fax had not legal value and were not accepted as proofs in courts. That's why all banking clients who use the service Home Banking (electronic payments) were obliged once a week to go to the nearest branch of their credit institution for to legalize the payment orders. Now, if the customer has an electronic signature this disadvantage drops out. The Law on Electronic Document and Electronic Signature, approved by the Parliament in April 2001, stipulates that their use in the INTERNET correspondence is fully legitimate and has legal value.The electronic signature guarantees not just the authenticity and confidential status of the document sent, but also allows to be absolutely strictly determined the sender. In other words, if you send an agreement through the INTERNET, you cannot convince judges that you are not its author.The main question here is whether electronic signatures are enough well secured against hackers who could falsify and use them illegaly. According to the computer experts of the company which serves the state payment system, this is practically impossible. For clients' relief, however, every electronic signature is guaranteed with an insurance of BGN600,000.Tzintzarski thinks that Bankservice electronic signatures will be sold by the banks. Credit institutions could offer them as a separate service or as a bonus to the Home Banking product.