The identification of users of existing or future prepaid card allowing to use mobile electronic communications services (calls, internet access, SMS, etc.) is mandatory. This is one of the counter-terrorism measures adopted by the government.
When to identify yourself?
You can identify yourself when buying a prepaid card (for instance in a point of sale) or later (for instance, if you have bought the prepaid card in a point of sale which is not able to identify you). You must then identify yourself later via the operator’s website.
Determine the identification method(s) proposed by your operator.
Each operator selling prepaid cards shall propose to its customers at least one of the methods referred to in the regulation or set out below.
Your operator will inform you of the proposed method(s).
Identification in a point of sale
Identifying yourself or not in a point of sale
After the identification in the point of sale (of the operator or not) where you have bought the prepaid card, you may leave with a card that is activated or will soon be activated (depending on how long it takes for the operator to validate the reliability of the data you have given to the point of sale).
You may still choose not to identify yourself in a point of sale. However, in that case, the prepaid card will not be sold or activated, and you will still have to identify yourself remotely (online, for instance) in order to activate the card.
Which identity documents should I submit to the point of sale?
You must identify yourself in the point of sale by submitting a valid identification document. The following documents, among others, are considered as valid identification documents:
- Belgian electronic identity card
- Identity card of another EU Member State
- International passport
- Electronic identity card for foreign people
- An official document temporary replacing one of the aforementioned documents that has been lost or stolen.
You must always submit the original identity document (no copy) and it must be legible and valid. If this is not the case, the operator must refuse the document.
Please note that the regulation lays down that the point of sale may make a copy of your identification documents but may not retain data or identification documents which are thus sent to the operator’s central IT system.
Must I introduce my PIN code?
In case of electronic reading of the Belgian identity card, the point of sale may request that you enter the PIN code of that identity card. If you are asked to do it but are unable to, the point of sale may refuse to sell you the prepaid card or can only sell you a non-activated prepaid card.
Online identification and electronic signature with the electronic identity card
You can identify yourself by signing up on an online application of your operator or by electronically signing a document of the operator. This method requires the use of the electronic identity card and the introduction of a PIN code.
Identification service provider
Your operator can also identify you based on an existing account or an account to create with an identification service provider for which your identity has already been checked. In other words: you identify yourself with an identification service provider, generally online, and the latter will send your identification data to your operator.
For the provider of identification services to be able to offer its service, it has to have developed a similar application allowing access to a digital application of the public services and this similar application has to have been approved by the Information and Communication Technology Federal Public Service.
Online payment transaction
You can identify yourself by buying or recharging a prepaid card online or by paying with a debit or credit card, provided that the paying service provider is subject to the Act of 11 January 1993 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorism financing.
In that case, the regulation lays down that a new identification must be carried out within 18 months following the payment transaction related to the prepaid card.
Product extension or migration
If you have already taken out a product with the operator with which you already have identified yourself (e.g. you already have a subscription) and you wish to buy a prepaid card or to switch from a postpaid scheme to a prepaid scheme, the operator should in principle be able to recover your identification data which were collected within the framework of the postpaid scheme.
However, your operator must somehow ensure that the person who was identified within the framework of the postpaid scheme is the same person as the one requesting the activation of the prepaid card (for instance by asking you to show an identity document).
The extension or migration of a product will not work if, within the framework of a postpaid scheme, the operator has only identified a legal person (your non-profit organisation, your company, etc.) and when that legal person wishes to buy prepaid cards. In that case, the operator will have to identify the natural person who will request the activation of the prepaid cards on behalf of the legal person.
Reimbursement of prepaid credit
When you change your mobile operator and keep your previous number, if you use a prepaid card, you may ask your previous operator to reimburse you the remaining credit on your card.
This request shall be introduced in the month following the number transfer.
The remaining credit is the unused amount of your last top-up, excluding bonuses you may have been given during that top-up.
Check your previous operator’s website in order to know which means it offers to introduce that request as well as the reimbursement conditions.
In any case, your former operator may charge you €5 of administrative fees for the operation.
That amount is not subject to VAT.
Check of the communicated identification data by the operator
With certain operators, you can identify yourself by communicating your identification data (at least your name, first name, date and place of birth as well as your home address) via the communication channels implemented by the latter (for instance via an online form).
After checking these data, the operator will send you your SIM card and activate it.