One of Kenya’s largest financial institutions, Equity Bank, is pursuing a biometric authentication system for its customers, according to a Business Daily article by George Ngigi. The system will employ fingerprint scans to determine customers’ identities for transactions with tellers and through ATMs.
This development follows pretty quickly on the heels of news that Nigeria would be fast-tracking a similar project for its own banks. In that case, however, the biometric security measures were mandated by the government’s central bank, while Kenya’s Equity Bank is acting alone. It’s seen primarily as a measure to cut down on the costs of fraud, which is a problem in the country – Ngigi notes that annual losses exceed Sh1.6 billion. But it’s also seen as a measure that can help speed up customer interactions, and also as a concession to the inevitable ubiquity of biometric security measures, with one bank executive acknowledging that the technology will probably become standard in the future.
Such biometric security measures will likely become widespread due to the rise of digital commerce and banking. Indeed, another similar announcement came from Costa Rica, where the Grupo Mutual bank has begun to implement facial recognition technology in the wake of increasing phishing attacks against its customers. And as more and more financial transactions are done over mobile devices, institutions and consumers alike will have an interest in more enhanced security of the kind offered by biometric technology.
Novemeber 28, 2014 – by Alex Perala