Biometrics: The definitive anti-fraud shield in banking

On phone at work desk

Biometric security companies and banks are coming to realise that they are a perfect match for one another. Banking has subsisted for centuries by adopting large scale changes with great caution. However, current times no longer allow for that thoughtful pace when it comes to anti-fraud measures.

The current times demand that the barrier of protection against fraud for these financial organisations by solid and robust. Banks are becoming less a physical location and more of a virtual hub. As the flow of operations increasingly takes place in the cloud instead of between four walls -traditionally reinforced and protected by vaults and guards- online operations have to be as reliable -or more reliable- than those carried out in an office.

How do we replace decades of reliable measures such as the use of a physical signature, knowing the client personally and having the certainty of knowing who we are dealing with (KYC – Know Your Customer) and the intangible know-how of employees exhaustively trained to operate within an area with multiple physical security measures like a banking office?

The answer, as so often is the case, is technology. The technological disruption in which we live has turned our visits to the bank in person into a few clicks on our mobile app. To do this securely, we equip ourselves with new tools such as increasingly complex passwords or coordinate cards, so that the system or the telephone operator can verify with whom they are dealing.

Ironically, that is precisely the weakness of the system. Whilst all of these multi-check and password systems are apparently robust in the eye of the user, they are in fact easy prey for hackers and crackers.

In addition, the generational factor is still of significant note. Older people do not generally have the same technological prowess as younger generations. This produces a very high lack of penetration of this type of technology in age groups older than 70-80 years.

The solution must therefore match (or exceed) the measures used by a bank office and be accessible to all ages -without requiring special technological training. Since the turn of the century, there has been theorising about the purpose of passwords and how biometrics would replace them and usernames. A client is their access method, not a string of numbers and symbols that, in addition to having to be remembered, must be changed frequently.

The first biometric tool to become widespread was the fingerprint. Currently, several biometric systems can individually or in conjunction verify identity continuously and in real time.

Specifically, facial recognition can be used to verify identity by comparing the photograph on an official identity document or passport with a selfie taken in the moment, to thus be able to register as a client of the financial institution and contract services.

This process, known as digital onboarding, is carried out in matter a few seconds and consists of scanning an official identity document or passport with advanced technology, capturing all the information, verifying that the photograph that appears corresponds to the person who is undertaking the process and that, in addition, they are a living person and not a photograph, a recording or a person with a mask trying to impersonate another’s identity.

The combination of complementary identity verification solutions seems like the unequivocal direction of the banking industry, which is adopting these solutions in record time.

FacePhi, a leading company in technology for user identity verification, and Revelock, a pioneer in the detection and response to online fraud based on behavioural biometrics, are joining forces to make their technological solutions available to banks jointly.