The NRIC has become the default way of proving identity even for mundane purposes - from entering buildings to booking cinema tickets online.
But building owners and retailers must find new ways to identify people when tougher proposed privacy rules kick in next year. The Personal Data Protection Commission proposed rules to bar building owners from keeping NRICs in exchange for visitor badges and shops from scanning NRIC barcodes for lucky draws.
The watchdog wants NRIC details collected only when it is vital to verify an identity "to a high degree of fidelity". Organisations will have up to 12 months from the release of the new advisory, expected to be in the middle of next year, to change their practice.