Biometrics are an essential part of the fintech equation
This is a guest post by Michael Boukadakis, CEO of Enacomm.
Biometric technology is turning out to be the “X factor” for FinTech invention. Advancement of the technology is creating new opportunities for innovators to streamline the customer experience (CX). Convenience – quick and easy processes – is paramount for wooing today’s consumers, and biometrics are increasingly making it possible to increase speed and decrease friction.
There’s long been an inverse relationship between security and convenience, when it comes to granting consumers access to their personal accounts, from social media to financial. Thanks to biometric technology, a seamless customer authentication flow is finally within reach. Security and convenience are no longer mutually exclusive.
Naked payments – or biometric payments – are already a reality. In New York, Mets baseball fans are now able to pay for their concessions at Citi Field with a quick fingerprint scan on a biometric reader (and other biometric identifiers beyond fingerprints will soon be employed, as well). The system automatically charges the end-user’s credit card that’s on file. This phenomenon is being made possible by Clear – yes, the company that expedites security screening at airports; it’s a biometric identity platform that stores individuals’ personal information and links it to biometric data. Clear is parlaying the data it’s collected on its users for airport screening to enable its biometric naked payments technology – linking its users’ biometric identities to their financial identities.
Beyond payments, voice biometrics are taking banking to the next level, too. The security provided by the latest voice authentication technology is giving consumers confidence to take advantage of the convenience of conversational banking. Thanks to artificial intelligence, bank customers and credit union members can have natural, human-like conversations about their financial accounts with voice-activated digital assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home. AI-powered conversational banking can deliver timely, personalized responses, ranging from insightful spending advice to balance information and complex transaction details. What’s more, soon the technology won’t be limited to use with a standalone device like a smart speaker.
The giants from Silicon Valley are already laying the foundations for a voice-directed world. Last year, for example, Apple acquired eight (8) patents from LighthouseAI (a now-defunct company). The patents – related to home security technology – will help with AI-based user recognition for passive authentication, as suggested by BGR.
Additionally, voice-controlled cloud-computing software is being integrated into almost every new gadget, vehicle and building. Alexa is integrated into more than 100,000 smart home products from over 9,500 brands. It’s been less than two (2) years since Lennar, the nation’s largest homebuilder, announced that all of its new homes would include built-in Wi-Fi, smart locks, doorbells, thermostats, and lights that can be controlled by Amazon’s Alexa. Within this decade, widespread conversational engagement will become a reality, and the ability to pay for goods and services will be an essential part of the overall experience.
Biometric authentication technology has captivated our imaginations for many decades – it was 1946 when the 2-Way Wrist Radio made its big debut, a “smartwatch” worn by Dick Tracy – but, increasingly, it’s finding its way into our everyday lives. Passwords are quickly being replaced by biometric identifiers – a more secure and more convenient form of authentication.
The winners in FinTech will be the companies that uncover new ways to add security without subtracting convenience. Biometric authentication is an essential part of the equation.
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