Facial and fingerprint biometrics are well known, but there is an even more secure technology with better UX that all banks should be looking at. By Greynier Fuentes, Vice President of Digital Solutions, Veritran

Maintaining security while offering an intuitive experience are two main challenges in the digital banking transformation.

To convert and retain an increasing number of digital customers, you need to offera user experience that’s as good as those of big tech companies such as Netflix or Uber. However, security is also one of the main factors that worry consumers when using a digital platform. It’s a concern that’s well-founded since, according to data from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), losses due to cybercrime could reach US$6 billion this year.

In response to this problem, new digital tools such as tokenization and biometric authentication are emerging as alternatives that offer greater security in mobile banking. Biological biometrics –  recognition based on physical traits – are particularly relevant. We are talking about face, fingerprint, and iris recognition.

Although facial and fingerprint identification are already well-known technologies, iris biometrics could be the most widely used in the future, as it is even more secure.

For banks, there are two advantages to using iris biometric authentication: high security and a very simple user experience.

In terms of digital security, the possibility of identity theft with this authentication technology is zero. The iris is six times more distinctive than a fingerprint, does not change throughout life and is a protected internal organ. Even if you have eye surgery, your iris remains the same.

In addition to guaranteeing user security, another important element is its ease of use. An iris scan can validate a person’s identity among millions of users in less than three seconds. And, despite its efficiency, biometric verification of the iris is not invasive.

What’s more, this technology is fully compatible with the pandemic era because it is a completely contactless identification method.

If the use of iris biometrics becomes widespread, it would significantly change the experience for users to authenticate themselves. Indeed, the concept of using our hands for everything would be left behind.

For the user, the experience would be almost science fiction. Imagine that, to catch the subway or to pay a bill, you wouldn’t need to swipe a card or tap a cell phone. With quick, contactless validation and the “effort” of looking, you could authorize different transactions.

It’s a better user experience, no longer requiring a wearable or a device – rather, we take advantage of something as natural as directing our gaze.

Iris biometrics: technology of the future

Despite these benefits, iris recognition is still the least-used type of biometrics in digital banking.

Part of the reason for this is the technology’s availability to users. Currently, few smartphone models have iris-scanning cameras. While this could change in the next few years, this technology can already be applied in face-to-face transactions, whether at a branch or when making a payment in person.   

However, because of the security and UX features mentioned above, iris biometrics will be key to the healthy development of digital finance in the long term.

Banks should not wait to jump on the bandwagon, they should start pushing for iris recognition as an authentication technology, integrating it into their practices and offering it to users who have the right phones.

In fact, adopting iris recognition as an authentication technology is an almost mandatory next step for the financial sector.

Andy Tran