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Onfido partners with FaceTec to extend biometrics further into identity lifecycle

Platform and Authentication solution launched

passive biometric liveness

Onfido is launching a new platform extending the company’s flagship biometric identity verification to authentication and enterprise-grade security to provide businesses with high levels of assurance that their customers are who they say they are without compromising user experience of privacy.

The new Onfido Face Authenticate has been developed in partnership with FaceTec, enabling users to access existing accounts in seconds, and according to the announcement unlocking new revenue opportunities for digital products and services.

People are ready to move beyond passwords, Onfido Director of Biometrics Sarah Munro told Biometric Update in an interview, and to use biometrics to access accounts instead.

Face Authenticate can also be used for use cases like self-service account recovery, authorizing high-value transactions, or authenticating gig economy workers.

Munro describes these use cases as “Making sure that the identity verification that is done at onboarding is then connected through to when the service is delivered.”

The Real Identity Platform, which also includes Onfido’s flagship Verify solution, is also expected to add other solutions or capabilities in the future. Onfido Private Key Encryption adds a level of enhanced encryption beyond the standard encryption the company provides, which Onfido Head of Global PR and Analyst Relations Paul Jarratt says gives enterprise clients their own custom master encryption key.

Onfido CPO Alex Valle notes in the announcement that identity fraud losses reached $56 billion last year.
For customers, enabling self-service account recovery helps improve customer experience, Munro says, referring to her time with Barclay’s before joining Onfido.

“Someone who’s calling to complain that they can’t get into their account; that’s not a value-added conversation,” she points out.

The initial motivation for developing Face Authenticate, the Real Identity Platform and Onfido Private Key Encryption is serving the needs of current Onfido customers.

“What we’ve done at the moment is target use-cases with existing clients that we know have existing need,” Munro explains. “But we’ve already been speaking to some other customers about things like ‘can we unlock a strong customer authentication use case, and where would that work?’”

These use cases include ensuring a person taking a car or room through a sharing economy app is the same person who booked it, or that a person contracted by a gig economy company is the person doing the job.

FaceTec partnership

As a company that develops its own biometric technology, it may be surprising that Onfido partnered to build Face Authenticate.

“We were looking for a partner to build this capability because we wanted to get to market as quickly as possible, and that’s why a partnership route was chosen over build,” Munro says. “For us, biometrics is still something that is important to Onfido. You will hear about new Onfido biometric product launches to come; this is an area we’re going to continue to invest in.”

Onfido was looking for liveness detection, iBeta level 1 and 2 compliance tests, great turnaround and a general good user experience, and based on those consideration, found FaceTec the best option to partner with.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to partner with Onfido, one of the world’s largest and most respected digital identity platform providers, to work together to make the internet a much safer place to be our real selves,” comments Kevin Alan Tussy, CEO of FaceTec, in an announcement of the partnership. “Our 3D Face Authentication software has already proven liveness for over 180,000,000 unique users on six continents, and features the strongest Level 1-5 Presentation Attack, Deepfake Detection & Camera Bypass Detection available, with no observable bias and support for all modern smart-devices and webcams. With the launch of Onfido Face Authenticate, now every month millions more users can access the most reliable and trusted face authentication AI.”

FaceTec also ensures the robustness of its Liveness technology with an ongoing $100,000 Spoof Bounty Program. The company says its 3D Face Matching technology provides a false acceptance rate (FAR) as low as one in 12.8 million at a false reject rate (FRR) of less than 1 percent, even on low-end devices with low-resolution cameras, and in challenging conditions. Onfido Face Authenticate users will take a three second video selfie on nearly any iOS or Android smartphone, tablet or PC for biometric matching and analysis.

User experience focus

Onfido PKE uses the AES-256 encryption standard, and is provided along with a set of enterprise tools including customer dashboards and audit log capabilities to support robust data security practices. These capabilities are important to financial service and gig economy companies, which Munro says will be among the first markets Onfido targets with its new platform and solutions.

The lesson of the past year, as the pandemic pushed people to do more online, is that people always chose a great customer experience, according to Munro. With consumers now aware of their remote options, the online channel will see a permanent boost in transactions.

Making that option equally available to everyone has motivated Onfido to invest in accessibility, and ways of reducing bias in face biometric performance. Munro recounts the company’s constant cycles of user testing – close to 20 rounds in a recent development process – to make sure the experience is right.

Onfido recently reported its best-ever quarterly results. If the company can deliver smooth customer experiences while extending biometric throughout the identity lifecycle, the Onfido Real Identity Platform could drive the next stage of the company’s growth.

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