Biometrics are gaining more and more popularity in the financial services industry worldwide. The technology is claimed to be the most convenient method as users don’t have to remember the numbers, codes or passwords.
Seeking to leverage the technology, a range of banks have turned to testing biometrics on limited audiences/particular markets. It may not take long till the industry makes biometric authentication a mainstream and ditches passwords once and forever.
Just couple days ago, two banks DBS and OCBC, revealed that voice biometrics will become available to retail customers in the second half of this year, in a bid to cut down the length of time that clients spend on calls. Using voice biometrics, DBS and OCBC say that customers can be verified in 15 seconds or less as they speak to customer service officers
OCBC launched its voice biometrics service to a number of retail customers in September 2015, while speech recognition technology was rolled out for all clients in April 2016. Meanwhile, DBS said that voice recognition service will be available at its customer centers by the end of 2016.
Financial institutions, BMO Financial Group (BMO) and MasterCard, recently marked the beginning of a phased launch of the first biometric corporate credit card program in Canada and the US that will enable cardholders to verify transactions using facial recognition and fingerprint biometrics when making online purchases.
Citigroup recently announced that it was the first major bank in Asia to roll out voice recognition technology to its retail customers, part of a move to upgrade its Internet and mobile banking offering across the region, as stated by Bloomberg. The bank plans to have at least 1 million Asian users of the technology within the next 12 months. The pilot will enable speeding up transactions such as money transfers, bill payments and checks on account balances, as Anand Selvakesari, Citigroup’s Singapore-based Consumer Banking Head for Asia-Pacific shared with the source.
There is a wide range of financial institutions that will be focusing heavily on deploying biometric authentication in various ways, and 2016 may very well mark the year of saying goodbye to passwords.
However, a particular company to thank for popularizing biometric authentication is not a financial institution, but a technology company – Apple. The tech giant performed an amazing job on creating a habit to get authenticated with TouchID and paved the way for other companies across industries to implement the technology with no market resistance and necessity for consumer education.
While biometric authentication brings convenience to any service, the main advantage seen by a large group of professionals is enhanced security capabilities.
As Andrew Churchill of the MIDAS alliance noticed, “Cybercrime and fraud are the fastest-growing areas of criminal activity, and vulnerabilities in identity and authentication practices account for much of this unwelcome growth. Adoption of enhanced identity and authentication techniques are essential to make secure the ever increasing number of online transactions and services that a successful digital economy needs.”
Biometric authentication could become the technology that puts an end to massive fraud cases and breaches.
The growth of the biometrics market
Overall, the biometrics market is expected to see a substantial growth over the coming years. In fact, some estimates suggest that by 2021, the market will reach a value of $30 billion with its primary revenues shifting from the government sector to banking and consumer electronics.
Fingerprint sensors, in particular, are expected to be a major force with shipments forecast to approach 2 billion by 2021, reflecting an overall growth rate of 44%.
HID Global, an American manufacturer of secure identity solutions, believes that biometrics is the only authentication method that binds a myriad of digital and physical credentials to a person. As such, biometrics plays an important role in eliminating digital identity theft in increasingly complex and vulnerable digital environment. According to the company’s estimations, by the end of 2016, total revenues for biometrics supplied to the global banking sector will reach $2.2 billion. Moreover, the company expresses confidence that the financial biometrics market will eventually account for almost a third of total biometrics market revenues globally by 2020.
The role of mobile in biometrics adoption
Mobile transactions are believed to be a major force in pushing biometrics into the mainstream. According to the Biometrics Research Group report, projects enabling the inclusion of biometrics in mobile devices will generate about $9 billion worth of revenue by 2018 for the biometrics industry, not just through mobile device unlocking, but also through multifactor authentication services and the approval of instant electronic payments.
Moreover, the company estimates worldwide revenues within the mobile biometrics sector to total $45 billion by 2020. Given that biometric-enabled smartphones will hit 2 billion users by 2020, new authentication standards will change the definition of security and mobile payments experience overall.
Biometrics market trends
While numerical estimations may vary, there are certain trends in the biometrics-enabled technology industry that are met quite often.
Professionals from Research and Markets expressed high expectations on the touchless sensing technology, saying, “A noteworthy trend to watch for is the emergence of touchless sensing technology. Advances in technology led to the development of touchless sensing technology that generates 3D fingerprint scan to resolve the problems with the traditional fingerprint recognition technology. The 3D touchless fingerprint technology is interoperable with legacy devices to provide high-quality images. To make 3D fingerprint images interoperable with current AFIS systems, a simulated rolling procedure was introduced. The procedure unwraps 3D fingerprint images into 2D fingerprint images that are comparable with legacy rolled fingerprints. 3D fingerprint image provides a high-quality, large, and nail end to nail bed representation of the finger.”
Håkan Persson, CEO of Precise Biometrics, shared high hopes on the development of smart cards market, “I see the market for smart cards as the next promising market for fingerprint sensors, in particular, the credit card market because the costs of card fraud are on the rise. Here, the demand for powerful and effective algorithm solutions is even greater than for the mobile market because the cards have even more limited processing power and memory. There are over 2.5 billion credit cards in circulation that are changed on average every other year, resulting in an addressable market of more than a billion cards per year. We are collaborating with our customers on several projects related to smart cards and other products like wearables and cars.”
Another interesting trend in biometrics recognized by Simon Cadbury, Head of Strategy and Innovation at Intelligent Environments, is behavioral biometrics. “The latest arrival on the biometric scene for digital banking is something termed “behavioral biometrics” – technology which intertwines the bio element of security with the manner in which people use their devices or access information,” he commented.
As Mr. Cadbury added, “Behavioral biometrics are exciting because security starts to become an invisible part of the customer experience. It will be interesting to monitor the progression of Nationwide’s pilot and that of others. Its success will likely be measured on whether it makes the experience simpler and easier for customers whilst also fundamentally more secure.”
One of the players innovating in behavioral biometrics space is BehavioSec, a Scandinavian company that transforms behavior into a transparent additional level of security by monitoring the way users interact with their devices in real time. The interaction pattern is contextualized. Technology can recognize if a conflicting user is operating a device by monitoring the environment, rhythms and interactions patterns that are unique to a particular user.
Another set of professionals believes cloud-based biometrics have high potential. In particular, ImageWare Systems, one of the leaders in mobile and cloud-based, multimodal biometric identity management solutions, recently announced that it is offering GoVerifyID as a SaaS to provide a biometric authentication service on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud.
Explaining the benefits of cloud-based biometrics solutions for fraud prevention and use for the government, Technavio commented, “This trend [cloud-based biometrics] is driven by the mobile biometric technology as pairing mobile biometrics with cloud-based biometrics speeds up the identification process and sends the resulting data to the cloud instead of saving it as a local file that can be accessed by anyone. Cloud-based biometrics help law enforcement avoid unnecessary travel to the station with a suspect. It enables law enforcement officials to identify criminals by comparing their biometric data against online databases.”