Will Biometrics Help Solve the Digital Identity Crisis?

The increase of high-profile data breaches and the evolving sophistication of hackers has shifted consumer perceptions and expectations around trust and identity verification. The identity verification process, once considered a behind-the-scenes step, is now being used by organizations as a differentiator to showcase the importance being placed on protecting customer PII.

But even with growing security concerns, consumers still expect an efficient and frictionless experience during onboarding and day-to-day transactions. As such, biometric technology has quickly become a popular method for authenticating users due to its efficacy, accuracy and convenience.

Biometrics such as facial recognition and fingerprint technology promise to improve the identity proofing process, binding a person to who they claim to be. Customers and users are finding biometrics much more convenient than passwords, paperwork, or online transaction and registration forms. Biometric verification can be used as a layer to strengthen and improve processes for on premise and for mobile or cloud-based services for initial onboarding/account opening, and as a standalone method for ongoing validation after one’s identity has been established.

Organizations are looking for a better method to authenticate users with high fraud prevention. This is especially true given an increasingly digital economy where the trend is towards conducting remote transactions on a mobile device. A new report from Juniper Research predicts that the biggest shift in mobile payment security will be the move towards software-based methods. It predicts that built-in biometrics (such as that offered by voice or facial recognition) will authenticate 1.5B mobile payments by 2023.

However, mainstreaming biometrics faces a variety of challenges. While it is expected that 67% of people worldwide will own smartphones by 2019, data privacy and user acceptance remain the key barriers to adoption. To overcome this, organizations across all industries must invest in appropriate data security mechanisms to protect biometrics data and focus on balancing security with a good user experience. Solutions should be easily adoptable and include familiar behaviors, such as taking selfies for facial recognition and utilizing fingerprints.

As more end-users grow comfortable with verification methods such as iris scanning or facial recognition software, we’ll see biometrics adopted at greater rates across all industries. In particular, airports are beginning to adopt biometrics for easy board gating and to support immigration and emigration border processes. And it’s working — just last month, a newly introduced facial recognition system helped catch an impostor at Dulles International. A 26-year-old man traveling from Brazil with a French passport was flagged by the airport’s facial recognition technology, which was put in place just three days ago. Upon a secondary check, he was found to be from the Republic of Congo and impersonating the man whose picture was in his passport.

Consumers want to feel secure and expect businesses to protect their information, but they still expect their transactions and onboarding to happen in a fast, convenient and effortless way. Similarly, companies need to approve more legitimate customers and ensure their trust, while defending their systems from fraud.

 

 

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