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Banks expand authentication options to meet wide-ranging needs

Banks expand authentication options to meet wide-ranging needs

A handful of financial institutions from around the world have recently added biometric authentication to their services to meet a diverse range of customer needs. Deploying biometric systems or new modalities provides a way to increase customer convenience and decrease the time necessary for authentication processes, but is also a mechanism for financial inclusion, as shown by a series of implementations.

Citi China deploys voice recognition for service hotline

Citibank has introduced voice authentication to identify customers contacting its service hotline, Verdict reports.

The process reduces the time necessary for customer verification from 45 to 15 seconds, and has already been deployed in several countries in the Asia Pacific region, according to Verdict, with a combined customer base of nearly 4.5 million.

“Citi has a history of exploring client centred innovation and technologies that enhance convenience and flexibility for our customers, so we are very pleased to launch Voice Biometric authentication as our latest innovation to enhance the banking experience of our client’s in China, one of our most important global consumer banking growth markets,” said Citi China Country Business Manager of Global Consumer Banking Darren Buckley.

Citi says it is the first bank in the country to broadly adopt the technology.

HSBC adds Face ID for corporate mobile customers

HSBC has extended the authentication options for corporate customers using its HSBCnet app to include Face ID, BankingTech reports.

Touch ID, Selfie ID, and voice recognition were already available to the bank’s customers, but the integration of Face ID as part of its “Digital Transformation for Corporates” plan to create a “customer-centric digital banking experience” reduces log-in time to under a second, the company says.

“HSBCnet Mobile use has grown by 60% in the last year alone, with an equivalent growth in value,” says HSBC’s Global Head of Liquidity and Cash Management Diane S. Reyes. “With single amounts of up to $1 billion authorised on the app, we know our customers will appreciate the additional security and ease Face ID allows.”

Digital startup volt receives limited banking license

Australian digital startup volt bank has been granted a restricted license authorizing deposit-taking, the first new license of its kind given out by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) in over a decade, according to Business Insider.

Customers can open an account with volt from a smartphone using facial recognition. The mobile platform enables simple transfers, and provides access to leading edge financial tools, the bank says.

Volt has raised $15.7 million in capital through three funding rounds, and plans to eventually transition to a full banking license.

“We acknowledge we are at the start of our journey, but the trust between many Australians and their banks has been broken and the path to repair starts with new market entrants who are willing to do things differently,” said volt CEO Steve Weston.

South Africa’s FNB deploys biometric kiosks for financial inclusion

South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB) is rolling out 50 self-service kiosks with fingerprint user verification over the next six months, Engineering News reports.

The “TouchPoint” kiosks will allow clients to perform transfers and payments, including for airtime and electricity, as well as view statements and cancel cards. Additionally, new clients can open accounts at the kiosks by registering a thumbprint.

“The TouchPoint validates a customer’s identity by scanning a fingerprint placed on the biometric reader and it can detect false fingerprints to prevent fraud. The identity of the customer is then verified with the Department of Home Affairs to ensure the self-service account opening complies with the relevant laws,” FNB Points of Presence CEO Lee-Anne van Zyl explained.

She also said that TouchPoint devices had already been successfully piloted in Gauteng since November 2017, and that the introduction of biometric technology could accelerate financial inclusion efforts.

Canadian bank offers biometric account opening

Four Directions Financial is also using biometric customer registration to broaden financial inclusion, but in the Canadian city of Edmonton. The bank has registered about 800 accounts in its first 18 months, roughly 80 percent of them signed up with fingerprint and eye scans, the CBC reports.

The bank grew out of a partnership between ATB Financial and the Boyle Street drop-in center, which began with support for an ID Storage program the center created because its clients frequently lost the government-issued ID necessary for many transactions.

“It was a lens to look at a population that wasn’t being served by financial institutions,” ATB Managing Director of Corporate Social Responsibility Sandra Huculak told CBC.

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