Behavioural biometrics and the modern digital banking landscape

One of the most exciting aspects of digital banking in the last few years has been the advance of biometric security.

In part, this is because it makes banking a safer and easier experience, but also because it feels like the future.

Several new technologies have helped to usher in this new futuristic state of being. Apple’s Touch ID and Apple Pay have helped iPhone users become much more comfortable with fingerprint security, and increasingly we’re seeing biometrics deployed more widely than just to access a mobile device or to pay for something.

Mastercard’s ‘selfie pay’

MasterCard has announced they are introducing ‘selfie pay’ to 14 countries this summer; Barclays has launched finger vein scanning capabilities for business customers and Halifax has trialled a heartbeat verification system using an electronic wristband.

Such imagination-capturing technologies play an important role in the modern banking industry, since they not only make users’ accounts more secure, but also simpler and easier to use. Security is a crucial consideration for every consumer, but passwords and PINs can be tough to remember, particularly if you follow recommended advice to have a different one for every online account you have. By removing the need for customers to remember a password, and by adding biometric functionality they are making banking both a safer and better experience.

Behavioural biometrics

It’s a field of constant innovation and the latest of these is a technology which can recognise and identify us based on how we use our smartphones. UK building society Nationwide has announced that it will be using such ‘behavioural’ biometrics in a prototype mobile banking app. This will monitor how users hold, swipe or type into their device, and combine this data with artificial intelligence to spot and prevent identity fraud.

It’s a brilliantly simple idea, first demonstrated a couple of years ago at Finovate by BehavioSec, and makes an interesting new addition to the technological capabilities available to FS companies. However as with any biometric measure, it must be deployed as part of a progressive security solution. Financial services providers should allow customers to select the security methods they want to use depending on the task they want to carry out. For example, a balance check could be made by identifying the user based on how they hold their device, while setting up a standing order to a new payee might also require a fingerprint and a memorable number, depending on how secure the customer wanted to make this process.

Progressive security solutions

Behavioural biometrics add a new option that providers can use to improve the quality of their customers’ experience. By deploying them as part of a progressive security solution, banks and providers can ensure that customers are kept safe from fraud, while also providing them with control over the security of their finances.