Self­ies: The next step in bank se­cu­rity?

Ex­pert pre­dicts the fu­ture of UAE dig­i­tal bank­ing

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Pa­trick Ryan @ThatPad­dyRyan

Peo­ple in the UAE will soon be able to log into their bank ac­count by tak­ing a selfie.

That was the pre­dic­tion of Mar­wan El­nakat, ebank­ing and eCom­merce Se­cu­rity So­lu­tions Di­rec­tor for the Mid­dle East and Africa at dig­i­tal se­cu­rity firm Ge­malto.

He was speak­ing to 7DAYS ahead of the Mid­dle East Bank­ing Sum­mit, which takes place in Dubai to­day.

El­nakat said: “Fig­ures have shown that peo­ple here pre­fer bio­met­ric se­cu­rity to more tra­di­tional meth­ods like pin codes. Peo­ple will soon be able to take a selfie to ac­cess their ac­counts.”

He said that banks in the re­gion will have no op­tion but to em­brace the tech­nol­ogy such is the de­mand for dig­i­tal bank­ing among “mil­lenials”.

“Banks need to in­vest more to en­sure they have a pres­ence here and main­tain a strong brand,” he said. “They sim­ply need to have a mo­bile app strat­egy.”

The tech­nol­ogy is al­ready in place but El­nakat claims that both banks and users have yet to get the best of it.

“Only 15-20 per cent of peo­ple who have a mo­bile bank­ing app ac­tu­ally use it,” he said.

“There’s still much work that needs to be done just to raise aware­ness.” He added that it’s not enough for a bank just to of­fer on­line ser­vices, they have to of­fer en­hanced ser­vices like bio­met­ric iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“Banks have to look at fa­cial recog­ni­tion and they need to in­te­grate it ef­fi­ciently,” he said. “Some al­ready have the tech­nol­ogy and could po­ten­tially of­fer a strong dig­i­tal plat­form.

“That said there are still some who have mixed feel­ings about it but the ser­vice is not sim­ply about just hav­ing a mo­bile app, there are wider chal­lenges that have to be faced.”

Another facet of dig­i­tal bank­ing that El­nakat ex­pects to see im­ple­mented is the ca­pac­ity to with­draw money us­ing your mo­bile app, in­stead of the more tra­di­tional method of us­ing your bank card at an ATM.

When asked if the Mid­dle East was ahead of the pack when it came to dig­i­tal bank­ing, he said: “It’s a grow­ing mar­ket but the is­sues vary from area to area.

“What is clear is that it can’t be ig­nored. In 2017 there’s ex­pected to be $1.3bn in dig­i­tal trans­ac­tions alone here.”

‘Only 15-20 per cent of peo­ple who have a mo­bile bank­ing app ac­tu­ally use it.’ – ebank­ing ex­pert Mar­wan El­nakat

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