Bank of America to pilot Samsung iris recognition for mobile banking

Bank of America will soon launch a pilot program in which it will use Samsung’s iris biometric authentication technology to allow mobile banking clients to log in to the app by taking a photo of their eye, according to a report by American Banker.

The pilot is part of an overall initiative to assess customers’ interest for a range of biometric authentication technologies, according to Michelle Moore, head of digital banking at Bank of America.

“One thing we know we need to work on with our customers is, even in today’s day and age of digital natives, there are questions about safety and security,” Moore said.

The bank is researching what financial firms and other companies are doing, as well as learning what their customers want.

Moore said that introducing new biometrics-based technologies will help the bank to further develop a digital identity for its clients that will ultimately simplify the authentication process.

“At some point, passwords will be a thing of the past and we need to take friction out of the authentication and verification process,” Moore said. “It’s not just biometrics. It’s really around who you are, the Bank of America customer, what is your digital ID, and no matter which channel you choose to interact with us, you can use that identity to authenticate and let us know you are who you say you are.”

The bank initially began using biometric technologies in 2015 with the roll out of fingerprint authentication — an option that is being used by half of its mobile app clients.

Besides the iris scanning pilot, the bank is also looking into the use of facial scanning and voice recognition.

The pilot, will see about 1,500 Bank of America and Samsung employees test the Samsung iris recognition technology for a six-week period.

Bank of America said that 30 to 35 percent of its customers have Samsung phones. To ensure that the pilot results aren’t biased, the bank will select participants that are representative of the bank’s customer population, Moore said.

Through the pilot, the bank hopes to learn if customers will use the technology, if they understand it, if they will find it convenient and easy to use.

Earlier this year, Princeton Identity announced that its patented iris recognition technology is featured in the Samsung Galaxy S8.

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