August 22, 2014
Keen on tech: St George CEO George Frazis (right) with CIO Dhiren Kulkarni. Photo: Supplied
Having deployed smartphone apps, “contactless payments” and wearable technologies, Australia’s banks are now taking on technology’s next frontier – biometrics – using human characteristics to verify the identities of customers.
St George Bank yesterday announced the addition of fingerprint login to its mobile banking service while ANZ said it would be rolling out technology to allow customers to be identified by their voice print.
It’s the first wave of biometric banking applications intended to remove friction from the payments process while boosting security.
Touch on: St George will launch fingerprinting internet banking logon on Apple iPhone 5S in September.Photo: Supplied
St George’s TouchID will be made available for the iPhone 5S as soon as iOS8 is released, currently expected in September. The service will be available on the Galaxy 5 later in the year. St George’s CIO Dhiren Kulkarni made clear that the bank won’t store its customers’ fingerprint data, but will use Apple’s application interface to link its mobile banking app with the fingerprint identification service that’s available on the device.
St George CEO George Frazis said that technology-based innovation was critical to the bank because; “It’s difficult to respond when a disrupter has entered the market. You have to be at the forefront.”
It was that reasoning he said which had led St George to be among the world’s first banks to launch internet banking, introduce mobile banking apps, and support wearables – St George has a Google Glass banking app ready to roll as soon as the device is released locally.
While the ANZ has been experimenting with a series of different biometrics, the first likely deployment will be of voice authentication, according to ANZ Australia CEO Phil Chronican.
Speaking yesterday at a Trans-Tasman Business Circle event, Chronican said he believed there was still resistance to some biometrics such as retina scans and fingerprints, but that customers had proved willing to use their voice to verify their identities to the bank.
The NAB has also run trials for customers who opted to have their voice prints stored and used to identify them.
Neither bank has revealed exactly how or when they will deploy voice biometrics.
Speaking earlier this month Jayne Opperman, ANZ general manager technology, retail, commercial and wealth said the banks were also interested in additional biometric applications, for example analysing the tone of voice of a customer to determine how a customer was feeling, and automatically route and assign a priority to that call.
Alan Shields, managing director of RFi Advisory, said that despite the banks’ biometric activity, some overseas biometrics deployments – such as using finger vein verification which has been rolled out on ATMs in Poland, or palm-vein initiated payments that were being used in Sweden – could eventually prove to be overkill.
“My gut feel is that in some of those instances they are over-complicating things. A PIN is enough,” he said adding that to move to vein-scanning systems at point of sale or on ATMs would require massive infrastructure upgrades, which could not be easily justified.
However he acknowledged that when consumer attitude to biometrics was tested in focus groups it was largely positive.
“On the voice piece most people have their phone or a microphone and so when doing your internet banking you could substitute an SMS message for voice,” but he said that the “efficiency benefit would need to be proven”.
A survey released in May by Deloitte’s Centre for Financial Services found that 63 per cent of respondents felt biometrics would be valuable in general. But far fewer trusted it as a payments enabler.
Only 26 per cent would want to use a biometric to authorise a payment of $1,000, and just 11 per cent for a payment of $10,000.
Vic Mankotia, vice president of security for CA Technologies in Asia Pacific, said that a range of biometric technologies was now being rolled out across the region, including hand vein recognition-enabled ATMs in Japan, and credit cards able to store fingerprint data by China Union Pay.
Mankotia noted that some biometrics were less prone to compromise than others – vein recognition for example trumps fingerprint recognition – but he said that banks deploying biometrics had to conduct proper risk analyses to determine first whether biometric verification was required, and second whether the high cost associated with rolling out expensive biometric infrastructure, particularly at the point of sale or ATMs, could be justified.
Source : The Canberra Times