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Banks are under pressure to do something abut security, so now that everyone has a smartphone it’s probably time to rethink the hodge-podge of measures we have now and standardise around the handset.

I just had to quickly log in to my online banking service to transfer some money to someone who doesn’t have PingIt, yawn. So I had to enter my sort code, account number and name and then use my bank’s 2FA dongle with my chip and PIN card to get a security code to enter in to the web site to log in to create a new payee and then send the money. I have to say that it all worked OK, but in an age of touchID it’s beginning to feel a little tired. While I was doing it, I started to think about the way that I could log in to my USAA account just by looking at my phone.

Biometric log-on is the latest effort by USAA to offer novel solutions to its members. The app is designed to heighten security as well as to improve the overall member experience.

[From Biometrics in Banking – PaymentsJournal]

Logging in by looking at your phone is, just as touchID is, about convenience before it is about security but it  certainly does enhance the latter. The way in which different biometrics are combining with the smartphone to create a new security landscape is starting to shape the mass market and it is really interesting to be working with our clients on bringing the technology to market and exploiting it effectively in different sectors.

Voice biometrics, fingerprints, iris scans, and other authentication options are beginning to replace passwords as a means to verify a user’s identity and simplify the login process when banking online or via a mobile device. The key is to provide enhanced security against hackers while improving the overall user experience.

[From Biometrics: Fighting Fraud and Protecting Identity In Banking]

If you are interested in this sort of thing, there’s a terrific lunchtime roundtable on biometrics in banking coming up. It’s organised by the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation at SWIFT in the City on 11th May. The panelists will be:

  • Rick Swenson, the USAA Executive responsible for Fraud Operational Excellence and Strategic Initiative who will share USAA’s experiences with biometrics and explain why their approach has been so successful.
  • Oran Cummings from MasterCard, who will give an international perspective on the use of biometrics in the financial sector.
  • Keith Gold, formerly with IBM Banking and Financial Services Europe, who has been helping the CSFI to understand the requirements of an ageing population, will talk about the importance of biometrics in the useability toolkit needed to this key segment of bank customers (or, why looking at a mobile phone is easier than remember a PIN for most of us!).

The usual well-informed and wide-ranging discussion will ensue, with wine and sandwiches for all. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from Rick while he is visiting the UK. There may be a few places left at this free event, so if you’re interested in seeing how the biometric state of the art is advancing in banking, contact anna@csfi.org for further details and to reserve your place.

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