16 September 2014

Simon Cadbury

Simon Cadbury - Intelligent Environments

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Biometric authentication and the financial services industry

23 June 2014  |  3047 views  |  0

Back in September 2013, Apple introduced biometrics into the world’s most popular smartphone. Since then, its functionality has been limited to that of a basic security feature, simply enabling users to unlock their devices and authenticate iTunes purchases.  However, with Apple’s recent announcement it is opening up Touch ID to third party developers, it is only a matter of time before we begin to see the feature fulfil its true potential.  

With developers around the globe looking into ways to capitalise on biometric authentication, from the healthcare to the connected home industries, one of the biggest sectors set to benefit is financial services.

Our industry has the opportunity to be at the forefront of this biometric revolution, spelling the death of the password as we know it. Banks have started taking steps in the right direction by providing SMS authentication. However, consumers still currently have to remember and manually enter multiple passwords, prompting over a quarter of Brits to avoid mobile banking altogether. Additionally, a range of high profile security problems (e.g. Heartbleed) have further highlighted the need to use different passwords for everything, creating an even bigger barrier for consumers.

According to a recent report by Forrester, consumer concern for security is the number one barrier to further adoption of mobile banking. Our recent research shows that over half of the UK’s consumers would like their banks to use more innovative and intuitive ways to secure their bank account – including fingerprint scanners, which are already being used to authenticate mobile payments in Japan.

Another study by IDC found that despite most mobile users being concerned about security, only 21% say they are already doing everything they can to secure their devices, with 37% saying they felt the primary responsibility was that of their provider. Applications like Touch ID help providers take on more responsibility but in a more intuitive way; a way that will hopefully lead to greater adoption of mobile banking. This is why Apple’s decision to open Touch ID to third party developers is such good news for the industry. Once biometric authentication is rolled out across Apple’s mobile devices, I’m sure we’ll see other manufacturers follow suit.

With financial services institutes under increased pressure to ensure the highest level of security and service, the race is on to see which one is the first to integrate it into a mobile digital banking app.

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Simon Cadbury

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