Biometric Technology: Replacing Passwords and PINs in Banking
Touch ID from Apple introduced a more modern way to authenticate banking customers through fingerprint recognition. Without wasting any time, banks throughout the world are pushing forward to leverage this device based technology to replace passwords and PINs. The entire financial industry realizes that biometric technology not only secures account holder financial transactions, but it also adds a great deal of customer convenience.
Why biometric technology?
Before we explore the reasons behind using biometric technology for banks and financial institutions, we need to understand what biometric technology is and how it works. Biometrics are the measurement and statistical analysis of physical and behavioral human characteristics. The technology compares these measurements and characteristics with previously registered data to identify a person. The most common biometric characteristics used in commercial applications for identification includes: fingerprint, finger vein, palm vein, iris, and facial recognition. Due to the fact that individual biometric attributes of every human being are unique and almost impossible to replicate or forge, it makes biometric technology a secure identification technology. Biometric technology is also convenient because you don’t need to carry around physical identification credentials — wherever you are, your biometric attributes are with you.
In financial services, customer deposit security is critical. Every bank tries to provide the highest possible level of security for their customers, but too many security measures can sometimes cause customer inconveniences. Biometrics is the only technology which provides the most advanced level of security without compromising convenience. As a result, more and more banks and financial institutions are exploring the possibility of investing in this type of authentication technology.
Biometric Replacing Passwords and PINs
A recent study conducted by Visa Europe in the UK suggests that, three-quarters (76%) of Generation Z (16-24) would feel comfortable making a payment using biometric security and 69% believe this will make their lives faster and more convenient. This specific age group also believes that by 2020 passwords and PINS will be totally replaced by biometric technology.
A major reason behind favoring biometrics is the belief that it should make our lives a whole lot easier. With biometrics, it is no longer necessary to remember passwords or PINs because your fingerprint or iris scan or other biometric credential will be sufficient for accurate identification.
Security concerns are another major reason behind adopting biometric technology over passwords or PINs. Anyone with some knowledge about your personal life can fairly easily guess or steal passwords or PINs. However, with biometric technology it is highly unlikely that someone can steal or forge your biometric attributes.
Although biometric identification technology adds extra security and convenience, it has its own challenges, including:
- Spoofing: Although it’s very difficult, select biometric attributes such as fingerprints can be spoofed.
- Environment, age, ethnicity, and other external factors can affect the integrity of individual biometric characteristics rendering them ineligible for use.
These challenges are not to say that biometric authentication cannot be useful. Continuous innovations are being made to overcome these limitations. For example, sophisticated “liveness detection” technology is now built in to new biometric devices that can quickly distinguish live fingerprints from fake ones. Multimodal biometric authentication is also now available to eliminate skin integrity, environmental factors, and other select limitations and external factors that can negatively affect identification.
Some people are also considering biometrics as an additional layer of authentication. Biometric authentication can provide another useful layer of security particularly when using services which are especially sensitive like bank accounts.
A majority of Americans feel that biometrics would improve banking security according to a survey by telecommunications firm Telstra. The key driver behind adoption of this technology in banking is the ability to provide enhanced security against hackers while improving the overall user experience. All the leading banks realized the demand for it, and are gradually in the process of implementing.
Are you planning to join them?