Biometrics: Key for Convenient and Secure Mobile Banking Experience

Today’s banking customers expect their bank or credit union has an app to make mobile access easy and secure. In fact, a bank’s mobile app may be the first and primary touchpoint for consumers – the majority of Millennials say they’d rather go to the dentist than into a bank branch. Therefore, a bank’s mobile app interface tends to disproportionately shape the way consumers experience banking, and this trend is likely to continue.

Consumers want a banking app to be simple to use – but also expect that it’s secure. Recent high-profile data breaches at Equifax, HSBC, and many other organizations have eroded consumer trust in online services. In the past, the perception has been that the larger the bank or financial institution, the better the IT expertise and cybersecurity. We all know now – in the aftermath of breach after breach – that this isn’t necessarily the case.

The good news, for financial institutions of all sizes, is that cybersecurity technology has evolved significantly in the last few years, making highly effective options available at lower cost. By strategically integrating these new technologies, all financial institutions now have the ability to substantially improve their security posture.

Secure AND user-friendly mobile experiences

In the past, usability has been the enemy of security. Consumers have been asked to create increasingly longer and more complex passwords and prompted to change them regularly. The result? Forgotten passwords and user lockout after too many login attempts. Also, although two-factor authentication via SMS and phone calls has become more common and is more secure, it causes irritating delays. These are the “frictions” in user experience (UX) that cause consumers to drop off, stop using apps and perhaps switch to a competitor.

In the crowded world of consumer-facing apps, users have many choices. Our expectations are high – we want a convenient and frictionless user experience, and if an app doesn’t measure up, we’re on to the next one.Today’s more advanced technology like biometrics address what used to be a trade-off between usability and security – which is why we’re seeing an increase in popularity.

There’s no password for better security

Consumers want biometrics. With increasing numbers of smartphones offering biometric capabilities such as fingerprint and FaceID, the technology has reached a tipping point. A Visa survey found that more than 65% of consumers are familiar with biometrics, 85% are interested in using biometrics to verify identity or make payments, 70% believe biometrics are easier to use, and 46% believe they are more secure than passwords or PINs.

Because biometrics meet the stringent FIDO (Fast ID Online) standards, the technology is gaining wider application, particularly for FinTech platforms and apps. More financial institutions across the board also are adopting biometrics – and this is just the beginning. In the near future, smartphones will likely be the single point for authentication across mobile apps, web portals, ATMs, and call-in customer support centers. This omnichannel approach makes customers feel secure while greatly streamlining the banking process.

Biometric authentication is a smart solution because it enables financial services organizations to offer customers the best of both worlds – better security and user experience – to stay competitive and keep consumers’ data safe into the future.


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