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Biometrics to reach the unbanked

by internationalbanker

ElaineBliss (3)

By Elaine Bliss, Vice President, Product Management and Marketing, DigitalPersona, Inc.

There are 2.5B people worldwide without bank accounts1   Many of the unbanked population do not have traditional forms of identification, such as passports, driver’s licenses or even birth certificates and thus they do not have the identity proof points that banks require in a traditional customer branch environment.  In order to bring banking services to this underserved market, financial institutions need a solution that establishes positive ID quickly each time this person arrives at the branch or other mobile location.  Biometrics can provide the identity assurance needed to meet today’s authentication needs.

4500-side_left-finger (3)Biometrics is the means by which a person can be uniquely identified by evaluating one or more distinguishing biological traits, such as a fingerprint, face, iris or hand geometry.  Because biometric identifiers cannot be shared or misplaced, and they intrinsically represent the individual’s identity, biometrics is quickly becoming an essential component of effective identification solutions. Recognition of a person by their biometric, then linking that biometric ID to an externally established “identity”, forms a powerful authentication tool.  Among the different biometrics, fingerprints are the most mature and dominant biometric used in commercial applications.

Benefits of Biometrics in Banking

Banks require a system that enables growth, manages cost and controls risk. Positive identification of employees and customers is a critical requirement for delivering on these success factors.  By having native biometric support within the core banking system, banks can easily capture and relate individuals to their biometrics.  This includes capturing biometric enrollments at the time of account setup, loan application or at the time of transaction execution, such as a cash withdrawal.  Once captured, these enrollments can be used to validate the identity of a customer across multiple channels including in-branch, online and ATM banking, making it easier for customers to take full advantage of the bank’s offerings.

Biometric identification of employees secures access to applications and customer data.  This reduces the possibility of security breaches which can cost financial institutions millions of dollars and generate negative press.  Additionally, biometrics improves workflow and customer service as tellers no longer have to remember passwords or PINs.

 The DigitalPersona Biometrics Solution

The Digital PersonaBiometrics solution was developed to provide banks with a means to grow their business by servicing unbanked customers in developing markets, improve customer service and provide a clear audit trail for complying with Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations.  This solution enables banks to easily integrate fingerprint biometrics into their core banking systems.  In addition to establishing a positive ID for customers when performing transactions in a bank, online or at an ATM machine, the Biometrics solution provides bank employees with the ability to securely log in to applications and approve transactions with the touch of a finger.

The Biometrics solution can also be used to process workflows, such as requiring a customer and employee to scan their fingerprint before a transaction is confirmed.  This can prevent fraud and eliminate repudiation of transactions.

Through DigitalPersona’s consulting and professional services, banks have the ability to customize the Biometrics solution to meet their specific needs.

The Future

Biometrics provides banks with an exponential opportunity to grow their business by reaching the unbanked and providing identity assurance to all customers.  Many banks worldwide are currently using biometrics solutions to:

  • cost-effectively launch new products
  • serve new customers in emerging markets
  • improve workflow and customer service at the teller in-branch operations
  • comply with regulations

For more information on biometrics solutions, contact DigitalPersona at +1 650.474.4000 or visit www.digitalpersona.com.


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