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Survey shows Singapore leads financial sector in biometrics adoption


Financial services companies in Singapore lead global markets in adoption of both fingerprint biometrics and voice recognition, and behind only Australia in use of facial recognition, according to new research.

The study “Leaders in Financial Services are Experts in Customer Identity” was commissioned by identity data intelligence company GBG and carried out by Forrester Consulting, and shows that 79 percent of Singapore banks and fintech firms plan to increase their spending on digital customer experience in the next 12 months, and 91 percent report that improving their ability to innovate is their top priority during that time.

Fingerprint authentication has been adopted or is being adopted by 61 percent of Singapore financials, while 57 percent of those in China, half of those in Australia, 40 percent in the UK, and only 37 percent in the U.S. have done or are doing so. In voice recognition, Singapore’s 56 percent adoption rate leads Australia (52 percent), China and the U.S. (49 percent each), and the UK (33 percent).

“Although Singapore is leading the way in adopting particular advanced technologies to authenticate customers’ identities, firms need to ensure they are globally competitive and address increasing customer expectations,” says GBG Managing Director Glenn Porter. “Technologies such as electronic document capture, social media data and behavioural monitoring make it quicker, easier and safer to open accounts and transact online than ever before. Many firms will need to look to move away from legacy processes – especially when it comes to customer onboarding – and look to collaborate with partners that can support integration of innovative technologies.”

Singapore is also second to China in using social media and behavioural monitoring to authenticate customers.

Despite the country’s lead in biometric adoption, 89 percent of financial firms in Singapore are concerned about their ability to identify customers, due largely to limitations of comprehensive data management, and poor integration of business applications and technology platforms. While only 41 percent of Singapore firms strongly agree that they have the necessary people and skills to execute their customer-centric strategy, all other countries included in the survey express less confidence.

Financial companies in Singapore are required to use two-factor authentication, which is one possible reason for the popularity of biometrics among them.

Singapore’s OCBC bank recently began using facial recognition technology from NEC to improve its customer experience.

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