Security often requires adding an action to a person’s life. Whether that means remembering a new PIN number or holding onto an additional card reader device, it’s never seen as natural. However, what if security involved something that certain consumers already did every day? Patrick Brusnahan provides commentary
HSBC has just announced security verification via selfie for certain customers. A self-portrait shot can be taken and then verified using facial recognition software.
Richard Davies, HSBC’s head of global propositions for global banking, said: “Through simplifying the ID verification process, we’ll be able to save our business customers time and open accounts quicker.
“We also expect the convenience and speed of a selfie to become the verification method of choice for our customers, who no longer need to visit a branch to complete the process.”
While HSBC isn’t the first financial player to suggest this method, USAA Bank, MasterCard and Alibaba have previously announced plans; it is the most recent big British bank to make a serious stride forward. Lloyds Banking Group had announced a similar platform in 2015. However, is this a modern way to secure your finances or is it a gimmick?
Lu Zurawski, Solutions Practice, Consumer Payments EMEA, ACI Worldwide
"It seems banks may be ready to branch away from rigid PINs and passwords, with the move towards ‘selfie pay’.
The use of physical unique identifiers appears to be slowly catching up with traditional tokens like cards and mobiles.
These new techniques based on biometric information will certainly be easier for some consumers to use, and they could also help banks streamline their processes whilst keeping a cap on fraud.
These are interesting times; this move away from ubiquitous, one-mechanism for all, could end up being quite confusing and potentially counter-productive if fraudsters devise new social engineering scams.
Perhaps in the not too distant future, sooner than we think, customers will chose their favourite identity verification provider completely separately from their choice of credit card, bank account or alternative payments provider."
Chris Hill, Commercial Technology Partner, Kemp Little
"HSBC’s use of a selfie for identification purposes is welcome news for the mobile payments industry. It has long been an archaic fallacy that the best or only way to identify an individual is the use of a passport and utility bill, or that the customer’s physical presence in-branch is necessary.
The capabilities of a smartphone – its ability to hear and see and transmit in real time – are in the majority of cases an adequate substitute for physical presence, and this move will bring greater convenience.
There are of course risk areas- how do you know the base document used to compare the selfie is genuine? What if a different selfie is intercepted by hackers along with a copy of the underlying document?
The transmission of this ID information over a mobile data network is no more risky than an in-branch meeting: in fact, if the right verification technology is deployed, it might even be safer."