Convenience meets security

Over the last decade, we have seen an increase in the use of technology to simplify and better engage customers in all business sectors, especially in banking and finance. When internet banking started becoming mainstream, it was for simple reasons; reduced transaction costs, simpler integration of products and services, engaging marketing capabilities, and other aspects that expanded customer base and profit margins. With simplified user journeys, adoption rates have been phenomenal and banks and other non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) are leveraging the power of technology to develop and deliver innovation that sets leaders apart from the followers. 

Since the onset of the digital revolution, voice and facial recognitions have been gaining prominence over touch and type based interactions due to the convenience they offer without compromising on the security of transactions. Since Amazon Echo’s India debut in October 2017, the voice assistance space has made consistent progress and has been integrated into several cross-sector functioning applications. With the popularity of Apple HomePod, Amazon Alexa and Google Home on the rise, leading research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that in the corporate sector, 85 per cent of all customer service activities will be handled by artificial intelligence bots that would in turn, facilitate various aspects of biometric and password-free user journeys. This has led many organisations across industry sectors to integrate voice assistance into their services. 

The facial recognition technology, too, has found its way into these sectors by moving from its perceived status as a part of science fiction in the past decade to being used in contemporary smartphones across the world. 

In India, the rise of digital banking after demonetisation has been a major impetus behind the introduction of such technologies into the banking, financial services and insurance sector. Today, most financial transactions depend on a two-factor authentication process. However, voice and facial recognition technologies can provide an added layer of security. 

Banks such as the State Bank of India, HDFC, and ICICI offer voice biometrics as an added security measure to the existing two-factor authentication feature. The usage of facial recognition to identify customers is also expected to receive a major boost in India with the planned rollout by UIDAI on August 1, 2018. The move mandates the introduction of facial recognition in combination with existing biometric authentication methods such as fingerprint or iris scan while authenticating Aadhaar number holders during their interactions with nationalised and private banks, national payment agencies, and NBFIs among others.