Consumers are open to biometrics for ID verification in banking

The news: Identity verification based on biometrics may gain wider adoption among banking consumers due to friction caused by established methods like passwords, per a survey that PYMNTS conducted with fintech Pindrop.

  • Alternative verification methods include voice recognition—which Pindrop offers—scanning fingerprints, and providing selfies for detecting “liveness” of users.

The problems: Respondents were more likely to express dissatisfaction with convenience than with security when asked about difficulties tied to log-in attempts.

  • The most common response, at 30.5%, was about the burden of keeping track of various credentials.
  • The highest response tied to security—third overall, at 20.8%—was about the safety of credentials stored on people’s browsers.

The identification process that takes place over the phone when consumers contact customer service is also a pain point: Just 43% of respondents said they were satisfied with it.

  • In a PYMNTS interview, Pindrop CEO Vijay Balasubramaniyan pointed to problems that happen when people who are in distress make customer service calls, such as when they need to replace their cards or dispute transactions.
  • In these instances, Balasubramaniyan noted, people are asked a series of identity questions that have limited efficacy in stopping attempted fraud—the range is 8% to 10%, PYMNTS reports.

Receptiveness to biometric IDs: The total share of respondents who were receptive to advanced methods was 29.2%, but the figure climbed to 57.4% among those who previously tried them.

  • Respondents making over $100,000 were more likely to express support (35.2%) than those making less.
  • Millennials and bridge millennials were the most likely to express interest based on age group, at respective figures of 50.6% and 45.1%.

The big takeaway: Biometric verification methods could become more widely used if banks can provide strong customer experiences while convincing people that they are secure.

  • In the short term, changing security opinions may be tricky. Balasubramaniyan pointed to customers’ historical perceptions that equate greater inconvenience with greater security. Banks must include education in their marketing strategies.
  • Consumers and banks have both had reservations about biometrics’ invasiveness and accuracy, per Aite Group and Axios. But Amazon’s rising deployment of biometrics at Whole Foods and Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena may help to normalize their usage—and steady growth in adoption could encourage banks to move ahead on their own.