hand holding a sim card on focus
hand holding a sim card on focus

The SIM Card Registration Act: What Is It and Why It Matters

Millions of Filipinos receive daily random text messages from unknown numbers instructing them to follow a link to claim something they’ve won. Oftentimes, these links are fraudulent, leading to countless SIM phishing attacks on many Filipinos. The Philippine government passed a law requiring all SIM card holders to register their numbers or risk deactivation to address this national issue. However, only 26% of the 169 million mobile subscribers have completed registration. With the registration deadline almost at its end, millions of Filipinos risk having their SIM cards deactivated.

Have you already registered your SIM card? In this article, we’ll go over the key aspects of the SIM card registration law, including its definition, significance, step-by-step process, and how it can help you with telco credit scoring.

What is the Sim Card Registration Law?

Republic Act 11934, or the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card Registration Act, is the government’s latest initiative to provide a safer space to Filipino mobile subscribers. This law mandates Filipinos to register their SIM cards with their respective telco providers within a specific time frame. Those who will not abide will risk having their SIM cards deactivated.

The law was enacted on December 27, 2022, and requires mobile subscribers to register by April 26, 2023. As of March, 43.67 million mobile subscribers out of 169 million had registered. And with the registration deadline nearing, the government and the telco providers are keen on urging the public to register their SIM cards.

close up of different sim cards

Why is Sim Card Registration Important?

The SIM card registration law was one of the first measures enacted by the current administration. It encourages responsible SIM card use while also providing law enforcement agencies with tools to help them solve crimes involving SIM cards. Additionally, it establishes penalties for fraudulent registration. The law also allows law enforcement to access a user’s information during a criminal investigation involving a mobile device.

Aside from that, here’s why it’s essential to have your SIM card registered:

Prevent Smishing Attacks

Smishing, short for SMS phishing, is a form of phishing that employs social engineering to acquire sensitive information through text messages. A typical scenario involves getting a text message from an unknown number instructing you to visit a link. The recipient might get a text saying they won a raffle, that their bank account had been hacked, or that the sender was the recipient’s boss. Once a person clicks a link, hackers can steal data, including personal and financial information.

This type of fraudulent activity has become rampant in the country. There wouldn’t be a day when you wouldn’t receive these kinds of texts. The actions governing the SIM registration law can curtail this problem. Law enforcement agencies will be better able to track down the perpetrators of smishing attacks if SIM cards are registered. Within this law, enforcers can retrieve the sender’s information involved in the fraudulent activity, allowing the smishing victims to be brought to justice.

secured icon showing on phone screen

Strengthen Sim Card Data Security

The SIM card is the storage medium for your phone’s data. It informs your phone of who you are and your capabilities. The information on this small piece of plastic is critical to every aspect of your mobile experience. Without it, you can’t make calls or send text messages.

SIM security is a crucial part of keeping information safe. If a criminal gets a physical copy of your SIM card by hijacking or cloning it, you could lose everything from bank information to being unable to hide your location from law enforcement tracking programs.

With the SIM card registration law, it will be harder for fraudsters to hijack your data. Because telco providers now have access to subscriber information, each SIM card will have its own identity. Your SIM card data will become more secure and less vulnerable to hackers.

Additionally, those found to be selling stolen SIM cards will face imprisonment for up to two years under this law. Spoofing a registered SIM card is also illegal and can result in a six-year prison sentence.

woman registering her sim card using phone

How to Register Your Sim Card?

Failure to register your SIM card will result in a fine of up to one million pesos for every subsequent offense after the registration period ends. To avoid this, we urge you to register your numbers with the respective telco providers:

Once on the SIM registration website, you must prepare valid government IDs for identification. For minors, their parents must be the ones to register their SIM cards. Check out this step-by-step guide to successfully register your mobile numbers.

How Sim Data Relates to Alternative Credit Scoring

Traditional credit scoring often involves checking a person’s age, home ownership, income level, employment history, and outstanding loans. However, this only applies to 30% of the adult population. For the remaining 70%, banks need to draw on alternative data sources that are just as robust and insightful as the classics.

That’s where alternative data scoring comes in. When used in place of traditional methods of determining creditworthiness, telco data opens up credit opportunities for the unbanked. This is because telco data can verify, analyze, and assess the creditworthiness of unbanked customers. The unbanked market is a segment of the population that lacks financial history and can benefit from telco data scoring if they need to apply for a loan.

With the enactment of the SIM registration law, SIM data will become more critical than ever. The registered SIM card can be an addition to telco data scoring. Telco data scoring involves looking at the person’s text, data, and voice usage patterns, SIM age, and top-up patterns. Having a registered SIM as part of alternative data scoring can strengthen the creditworthiness of an individual.

At Finscore, we use a data source that almost everyone in the adult population has: mobile data. Credit scoring based on telco data allows financial institutions to access the previously unreachable “invisible market.” They will become visible, reachable, and potentially viable for future financially inclusive loan products.

black screen on iphone beside sim tray and sim card popped out

Create a Safer Environment for Mobile Subscribers by Registering Your Sim Cards Today

The SIM card registration law promotes a safer and more secure environment for every telco subscriber in the country. It will not only reduce the smishing problem that Filipinos face, but it will also be another factor to consider for alternative data scoring. So, join the government and telco providers to improve the mobile subscriber experience.

Get ahead of potential security issues by registering your SIM cards today. Contact us immediately for any questions on the SIM card registration law and alternative data scoring.

FinScore is a financial technology company in the Philippines that offers a powerful credit scoring platform and fraud detection tools based on alternative data, including telco-based data. 

As the pioneer in lending and scoring of the unbanked, we continuously provide fintech services that empower financial institutions, banks, and credit bureaus with flexible platforms to help them make insightful and reliable credit decisions. Contact us today to learn more about our products and solutions for financial institutions.