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The future of finance in LatAm & the Caribbean

Biometric authentication facilitates customer acquisition and retention

Dec 13, 2021

By Antony Pinedo
Autenticación biometrica con la cara

Leading financial institutions in Mexico are already employing Veridas biometric technology for remote customer onboarding and identity verification using facial or voice authentication

 

Until recently, it was essential to go to a bank in order to open a savings or credit account.

This fact was challenged by the pandemic, which saw many financial institutions escalate a process that the industry had begun to implement a few years earlier: turning customer registration into a successful online experience.

Banks should take several factors into account when moving the financial customer journey from the traditional, analog world to the digital one. First and foremost: security and trust. At the end of the day, it’s all about protecting people’s money.

“In the digital world there are two principles you must protect: first, that the user is who they say they are; and that the user is not being manipulated to do what they say they are doing,” says Mauricio Guijarro, vice president of sales for Latin America and the Caribbean at Veridas, a Spanish company founded in 2017 that provides facial and voice biometric identification technology to more than 100 clients in 14 countries.

Guijarro adds that biometric facial or voice identification products benefit all stakeholders, allowing companies to be more efficient, while the user is authenticated via activities as natural as talking on the phone or taking a selfie.

BBVA Spain is a prime example. In 2017, it became the first Spanish bank with a 100% digital account set-up by identifying applicants with facial biometrics, using Veridas technology. Since then, the bank has acquired 500,000 new customers using this process.

Voice biometrics, technology for everyone

And while digital channels are native territory for younger generations, this technology has advantages for banking customers of all ages.

Guijarro uses the example of BBVA Mexico’s voice recognition application. The bank has used the technology to remotely verify proof of life more than 50,000 customers—especially senior citizens. The system has an anti-spoofing system that detects prerecorded voices and flags possible identity theft.

This process benefits the bank by reducing the cost of a typical 30-second call to customer service. In addition, it doesn’t ask the customer to do anything more than talk, which makes the process easy and, at the same time, very secure.

“Veridas’ accuracy and security for authentication processes has a valid score of more than 99.9%. Therefore, with our technology we can be certain that you are who you say you are,” says Guijarro.

Guijarro says that Veridas’ technology is ISO 30107-3 certified by iBeta, a standard for detecting attempts to impersonate or spoof the system. Testing found that the proof of life and facial biometric identity verification engines were not vulnerable to fraud attempts.

They also appear among the top positions in the evaluations carried out by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the world’s leading evaluation agency for this type of technology, which means that these biometric engines are at the technological forefront in terms of accuracy and reliability.

Security, UX and optimization: the “magic triangle” for banking

At least 40 million people in Latin America became bank customers for the first time between May and September 2020, when lockdowns were in full force, according to a study by Americas Market Intelligence (AMI). People’s inability to leave their home led banks, fintechs and other service industries to speed up their digital onboarding solutions to open accounts and enroll users remotely.

But building highly secure solutions on its own isn’t sufficient to encourage user loyalty. They must also operate without friction, because the pace and functionality of the onboarding process will define the quality of the relationship with the user.

“At Veridas, we call this perfect balance between security, user experience and cost optimization ‘the magic triangle’ and we are very proud to successfully deliver it to our customers around the world,” says Guijarro.

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