The Potential of Biometric Authentication in the BFSI Industry

Biometrics in banking has revolutionized account opening and fund transfer by replacing passwords and two-factor authentication, ensuring faster and more secure transactions.
FTB News DeskDecember 26, 202312 min

Table of Contents

In the ever-evolving landscape of banking, the financial services and insurance (BFSI) industry requires security and convenience to protect sensitive information and enhance customer experience. Consumers demand seamless access to their finances while banks and other financial institutions grapple with continuous threats of fraud and data breaches. Traditional knowledge-based authentication methods like passwords, PINs, or OTPs are proven to be easily compromised, forgotten, or stolen, which increases vulnerability to data and money theft. Thus, adopting innovative solutions like biometric authentication stands out as a transformative force that will help reshape the future of the BFSI industry.

In this article, we will understand the concept of biometric authentication in the BFSI industry.
1. What is Biometrics in the BFSI industry?
The inherent strength of biometrics lies in their uniqueness and non-repudiable nature, unlike passwords, which can be easily stolen. Biometrics, like fingerprints, iris, and voice recognition, are intrinsically tied to an individual, making biometric authentication significantly easier to bypass, and offering robust protection against unauthorized success and fraudulent activities. This rise of biometrics technology has leveraged the BFSI industry to fight against fraud and create a more secure ecosystem for both customers and financial institutions.

BFSI industries around the world are using biometrics in their core financial systems to authenticate customer information.
2. Why Does BFSI Need Biometric Technology?
Biometric technology is a valuable tool for the BFSI industry as it offers numerous benefits that increase the level of security and convenience when compared to traditional authentication methods, like signatures, passwords, PINs and tokens, and in-branch services, to get access to net banking and ATMs.

Here are some of the key benefits that encourage the BFSI industry to implement biometric authentication technology:
2.1. Comply with Regulatory Requirements
When an individual opens an account, financial organizations utilize biometric identity verification to confirm their identification before allowing them to access their services. As a strong protection, biometric technology helps banks reduce the risks connected to financial crimes and money laundering. It also provides an efficient way for financial institutions to comply with KYC and AML regulations. 
2.2. Prevent Fraud
In addition to strengthening identity assurance for regulatory compliance, biometric identity verification provides a strong barrier against fraud. Banks implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) systems, which combine biometric verification with additional authentication methods like a password or PIN, to thwart identity theft and other fraud-related incidents. 
2.3. Provide Convenience
Biometric authentication eliminates the need to remember and type passwords, which can be a frustrating and time-consuming process for users. This can improve the user’s experience and make it easier for them to access their account. Biometrics can also help streamline in-branch banking procedures and make transactions smoother and more efficient.
3. How Are Biometrics Used in Banking
Biometric technology can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used in conjunction with other authentication techniques to build a multi-factor or step-up authentication system. Let’s look at some of the most common applications:
3.1. Customer Re-Authentication
Financial institutions can employ biometrics to develop a quick and safe re-authentication procedure that eliminates the need for consumers to use standard passwords when logging into their accounts. This is critical since valid accounts can still be compromised later in the customer life cycle.
3.2. Branch Banking
Using fingerprint, facial, or iris recognition at financial institution branches offers quick and reliable biometric authentication. When consumers visit financial service institution branches, they can authenticate themselves at the service counter by matching their biometrics, which are often maintained in the institute’s database. In addition, banking institutions use biometrics to allow access to safe deposit boxes, ensuring that only authorized individuals have access to their contents.
3.3. ATMs
ATMs that use biometrics are increasingly common in both developed and developing nations. As a result, a few banks and financial institutes have equipped their ATMs with fingerprint recognition technology. Customers can link their fingerprints with their bank accounts, and when they visit an ATM, they simply place their finger on a biometric sensor. 
To summarize, the power of biometric authentication technology has and will continue to benefit both customers and the BFSI industry. By offering quick, accurate personalization and secure techniques, this technology is poised to reshape the way users can manage their finances. As the BFSI industry embraces biometrics and navigates the associated challenges, it has unlocked a future where financial transactions are secure and easy for consumers.

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FTB News Desk


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