Fa­cial scans on phones set to be banks’ new weapon against fraud

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Michael Cog­ley

BOR­ROW­ERS and new bank­ing cus­tomers will soon be able to pro­vide fa­cial scans to ver­ify their iden­tity re­motely as part of plans by credit check giants Ex­pe­rian and Tran­sUnion.

Cus­tomers will be able to cross-ref­er­ence the scans against IDs like a pass­port or driv­ing li­cence to con­firm it is them us­ing tech­nol­ogy from bio­met­rics com­pany On­fido. Users will scan their face us­ing the cam­era on their phone.

The in­tro­duc­tion of bio­met­rics aims to im­prove se­cu­rity for banks and in­crease the num­ber of ser­vices cus­tomers can ac­cess re­motely.

Ex­pe­rian counts the likes of Bar­clays, the Co-oper­a­tive, HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scot­land among its clients. A deal with Ex­pe­rian is ex­pected to close over the com­ing weeks.

Chal­lenger bank Monzo and NatWest use Tran­sUnion to of­fer credit scores, but its agree­ment with On­fido is not re­lated to UK cus­tomers for now. Lon­don-based On­fido played down the im­pact its tech­nol­ogy will have on loan ap­provals in the near fu­ture.

“While we don’t an­tic­i­pate that the im­ple­men­ta­tion of dig­i­tal iden­tity ver­i­fi­ca­tion will have an im­me­di­ate rad­i­cal change to the process by which loans are ap­proved, some users may opt in to use this ap­proach to ver­ify their iden­tity when first en­gag­ing with the or­gan­i­sa­tion,” the com­pany said.

On­fido said its part­ner­ships were ev­i­dence of the credit bu­reaus’ “com­mit­ment to in­no­vate in line with grow­ing con­sumer de­mand”.

“On­fido is sup­port­ing them by en­abling more se­cure and eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble on­board­ing for new cus­tomers,” the com­pany said. “How­ever, this is just one el­e­ment of credit bu­reaus’ means of se­curely con­nect­ing with their cus­tomers and are cog­nisant that any shifts towards wholly dig­i­tal iden­tity ver­i­fi­ca­tion could prove ex­clu­sion­ary. There­fore, not all cus­tomers need to par­tic­i­pate in the On­fido-en­abled sys­tem to ac­cess the ser­vices of our credit bureau part­ners.” Bio­met­rics is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in bank­ing as fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions look to meet new reg­u­la­tions in­tro­duced last year.

Among them was strong cus­tomer au­then­ti­ca­tion, which stip­u­lates that a user­name and pass­word does not pro­vide enough se­cu­rity. In­stead, cus­tomers need two forms of proof of who they are, which can in­clude some­thing they have in their pos­ses­sion, such as their phone, or some­thing like fin­ger­prints.

Bio­met­rics has drawn crit­i­cism in re­cent years for plac­ing highly sen­si­tive data such as fin­ger­prints at risk of be­ing hacked. In Au­gust last year, the fin­ger­prints of over one mil­lion peo­ple were dis­cov­ered on a pub­licly ac­ces­si­ble data­base. The bio­met­rics was used by the likes of the Met Po­lice and de­fence con­trac­tors.

The in­dus­try, which has ben­e­fited hugely from re­mote work­ing with work­ers need­ing to log in se­curely, is ex­pected to more than dou­ble in size over the com­ing years. Con­sul­tancy Frost & Sul­li­van tipped the sec­tor to be worth around $45bn (£35bn) by 2024.

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