Smiley, innovative authentication

It’s a pivotal time for facial recognition technology.

Smiley, innovative authentication

Until now, Facebook and Google have been leaders in the field, having developed state of the art photo recognition algorithms to enhance the user experience. For example, Facebook’s DeepFace tool automatically identifies and “tags” people in photos shared on the social network.  

However, it is now also gaining momentum in the financial services industry. Facial recognition provides a secure and convenient way of verifying identity. For this reason, it has started to capture the imagination of several players in the sector, many of whom are looking at the role it can play in authentication.

Just last week, MasterCard announced it is trialling a selfie smartphone payment app, which uses facial recognition to verify online purchases. The company is exploring this technology as an alternative to SecureCode, its password security software.

While over in China, Tshighua University and Tzekwan Technology have unveiled the world’s first facial recognition ATM. It works by mapping facial data and matching it against an ID database, authenticating users by using facial feature and iris recognition, instead of the traditional PIN system. It can even identify if facial features have changed.

This progress in payment and ATM security is exciting. So, what next? How else can banks transform the customer banking experience with facial recognition software?

According to our research, more people than ever use online and mobile banking to manage their finances. Additionally, there is a growing appetite for biometric security measures, with over half of banking customers (58%) saying they want to ditch their digital banking passwords in favour of a biometric login. With facial recognition technology becoming increasingly sophisticated, as demonstrated by the likes of MasterCard, there is now a huge opportunity for it to form part of everyday banking. 

Banks in the US have already recognised this. For example, USAA recently deployed a full-scale rollout of facial recognition technology. Customers can now access the organisation’s app with a tap of their smartphone camera and a blink when they’re prompted. Adoption of the new features has been impressive, with over 101,000 USAA customers opting to use facial recognition in the first four weeks.

UK banks should also take advantage of this growing consumer appetite for biometrics, by incorporating facial recognition software into digital banking apps. By doing so, providers can ensure the authentication process is more secure and convenient than ever before.