Biometrics: the road less travelled on the customer journey
Biometric security in the financial services sector has finally reached the tipping point many have been anticipating since Apple launched its fingerprint recognition technology one whole iPhone generation ago. We recently saw the first of the major banks to announce that both fingerprint and voice recognition technology will be viable account login options for millions of its retail customers.
Tom Blacksell, MD of decision analytics and marketing services, UK & Ireland at Experian, explores this “road less travelled”.
This move has been long-expected from both business and consumers alike as the general public has become more at ease with biometric authentication. Expect the other big rivals to follow suit sooner rather than later.
Experian’s recent research found that nearly two thirds (61%) of consumers believe that biometric authentication is more secure, or as secure, as current systems in place. What makes biometrics so appealing to individuals is the speed in which they can login to and securely manage their accounts. Early adopters of Apple Pay have already seen these effects with their customers, as the smartphone becomes the phone, mailbox and wallet all in one.
While many service provider will now be rushing to catch up, there are already those that are saying: “what next”? Having biometric account management is certainly an attractive perk for people thinking about switching banks but the real game changer could be incorporating biometric authentication into the new account application process.
Separate research has found that four fifths (81%) of people have experienced frustration when going through a financial provider’s “digital journey”. Further to this, nearly a third (29%) would completely avoid a certain provider in the future if these frustrations tested consumers past their limits of patience. So while having additional perks might give one company the edge in the switching rush, that consumer sentiment can be eroded very quickly if the application process is cumbersome.
The emergence of user experience as an industry has been spearheaded both by app developers and the financial services industry that has spent untold millions in making their digital services as user friendly as possible. The idea of a digital passport has been mooted in recent times and it could present a viable option for truly incorporating biometrics into financial applications.
One thing is for sure, after dipping its toe into the mainstream, biometrics has now dived right in and its application can be as broad as you can imagine. Widespread biometric authentication can not only streamline the customer journey but can also make a big impact on the fraud rates across financial services. Fingerprints, voice analysis, iris patterns, vein matching, gait analysis, and so on are near-unique, individual traits – and generally – incredibly difficult to fake. While current systems in place are increasingly effective against modern fraud, biometric security can make scamming even more difficult for fraudsters.
But will it be enough on its own? Biometric security – as with any other innovative fraud prevention measure – is likely to be most effective when used as another additional layer to help shut out those fraudsters.