USAA Rolling Out Biometric Authentication for Account Log-in via Mobile

USAA members residing in the states will soon be able to log into their accounts through mobile devices using biometric recognition. This will make USAA the first U.S. financial institution to offer facial and voice recognition on a mobile app as added protection against fraud and identity theft. USAA members are expected to have access to biometric logon capabilities in early 2015.

A recent report by Juniper Research forecasts that more than 770 million biometric authentication applications will be downloaded per annum by 2019. Also, a research by Visa Europe indicates that three-quarters of 16-24 year olds are in favor of biometric authentication measures such as facial recognition, fingerprint and retina scan.

Millions of U.S. consumers are the victims of identity theft each year, which is consistently the leading complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission. Through biometric technology, all stateside USAA members will soon have the option to use their voice or face to quickly and securely access their account information in the USAA mobile app. This extends the mobile app’s multifactor authentication options to include a unique PIN, face and voice recognition – all of which work in conjunction with a security code generated by the app for each login. Multifactor authentication uses a minimum of two factors of identification to add another layer of security.

Gary McAlum, USAA’s chief security officer, said in an official press release: USAA is committed to cutting-edge solutions to make our members’ financial transactions as secure as possible. The use of multifactor authentication through biometrics is one of the most effective ways to increase security protection as traditional passwords become increasingly obsolete.

Carl Liebert, USAA’s chief operating officer, said in an official press release: The recent enhancements to the USAA mobile app highlight our focus on the member experience we deliver. We’ll continue to find and develop all solutions that can make the lives of our members simple, easy and more secure.

USAA’s facial recognition requires users to look at the screen and, when prompted, blink their eyes. For voice recognition, users must read a short phrase. Following a successful pilot in California, Texas and Florida, USAA will now make these features available to stateside members. Biometric logon is part of a broader effort by USAA to enhance the member experience and security within their mobile app. The organization recently enhanced the app to provide members the ability to immediately connect with a member service representative using a voice-over-Internet connection instead of a traditional phone call.

The new option will be available through an update to the USAA mobile app for iOS and AndroidTM devices. Also, USAA plans to test the use of fingerprint identification to log in to the organization’s mobile app.