Bank fraud, which continues to increase in sophistication, along with disturbing stories of identity theft, is driving demand for a more secure method to identify customers. Ideally, new techniques should not rely on something the customer knows (such as the answer to a security question), rather upon a unique identity that is based on a physical attribute not easily replicated. Biometrics provides a solution.
Biometrics offers a better alternative
Biometrics is already in use in law enforcement, government identity authority and border control, given its identification accuracy and security. Similarly, biometrics in banking has the potential to close banking loopholes commonly exploited by criminals.
Biometrics technology leverages web services and other solutions from vendors such as Apple and Samsung to authenticate customers as they log on to mobile banking or other payment solutions. While some customer resistance still exists, we expect the adoption of this technology to quickly mature as biometric-based authentication systems successfully illustrate their superiority over PIN and password systems for verifying individuals.
Millennials favor emerging technologies
The type of biometric technology we see evolving will likely include fingerprint, iris, facial recognition and similar methods that leverage and elegantly integrate mobile devices into the bank customer’s experience, such as voice. Roughly 250,000 Citi customers for example, have opted into its voice authentication service in the U.S. to verify themselves when they call the bank.
Citi has voice authentication initiatives in other markets as well. For Citi, voice authentication has not been positioned as a replacement to other methods but rather, as an alternative option. “We want to offer our customers choices when it comes to authentication, and we’re always looking at innovative and secure ways to do that,” said Ash Khan, Citi’s head of information security for global consumer banking.
Khan’s opinion reflects that of James DeBello, CEO of the digital vendor Mitek, which recently surveyed the current generation on its digital banking habits. The survey of 1,000 milllennials found that in identifying themselves via mobile devices, 61% prefer fingerprints. Additionally, almost a third said they’d accept facial recognition.
A better banking experience
Longer term, we expect biometrics solutions to be combined with other behavioral data to provide robust, infrastructure-level security. Such developments will enable banks to provide secure and seamless access to all of their platforms, from mobile banking to physical branches to ATMs. As this happens, the technology and the mechanics of logging in will fade into the background and be replaced by a simpler, more efficient user experience.