What the smart ID card looks like. Photo; Facebook
JOHANNESBURG - old-school, green Identity Documents are currently being phased out by the Department of Home Affairs. Back July 2013 the department began replacing the green ID books with smart ID cards.

According to the government, the new ID cards have better security features and are extremely hard to forge.

Some of the smart ID card features include:

1. Physical security features on the body of the card such as holograms, laser engraving and personal details which provide visual verification of the card and easily identified cards.
2. Logical security features including fingerprint biometrics and biographic data embedded on the 80 kilobytes card chip.
3. The card is available in two types. Type A is for people with regular names and surnames while Type B is for people with longer length names and surnames.

Easy options for some

People can apply for their smart ID through the Department of Home Affairs or they can get their smart ID at a bank.

Former Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, started out a pilot programme in 2015 with two South African banks issuing smart ID cards. Those banks were First National Bank and Standard Bank.

The smart ID is now available at both ABSA and Nedbank. However, the service is currently only available at the forementioned banks in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Pretoria.

FNB has said that the process is still in it's pilot phase, "we only offer the service at limited sites in Gauteng but are in the process of planning further roll out to select branches across the country once they are in a position to do so," the bank said.

The service is currently available at these branches: Lynwood (The Grove), Centurion Lifestyle, 4 Merchant Place and President Str West Branch in Johannesburg.

Members of the public can also get thier passport from banks like FNB, Capitec and Nedbank.

According to FNB, All South Africans in the designated and qualifying age groups can get a Smart ID, however, FNB primarily services its customers.

Those who want to avoid waiting in long queues and going to the bank for their smart can now apply for it online. Members of the public can apply for the smart ID card online via the Department of Home Affairs website.

Those applying for their smart ID card for the first time do not have to pay a service fee. A replacement ID it costs R140 and the turn around time for a smart ID is less than 10 days.