In business, and perhaps especially in finance, timing is important. Borrowing at low rates, selling at high valuations, fundraising ahead of a market boom – success across a range of ventures depends so much upon acting when conditions are exactly right.
For FinTech players involved in biometrics, that time is now, as our Financial Biometrics Month coverage has demonstrated over the last few weeks. Consumers are more comfortable with biometric technologies than ever; banks and other businesses are looking for ways to comply with new regulatory frameworks while improving the customer experience; and technological developments are paving the way for new innovations in biometric banking, payments, and more.
FindBiometrics touched on all of these exciting trends over the course of Financial Biometrics Month, not least in our comprehensive Money20/20 coverage from Las Vegas, and it’s worth taking a moment now to consider what we’ve seen and learned.
FinTech biometrics have evolved rapidly over the last few years, so it was important for us to take stock of where things stand now at the outset of this year’s Financial Biometrics Month. Our Primer started off with one of the most important, ongoing trends – the continuing ascent of mobile banking – and it proceeded to delve into perhaps the biggest new craze therein, the rise of selfie-based authentication via facial recognition.
It also looked at the emerging biometric payment card concept, which appears to be on the cusp of mass market deployments, and the emergence of biometric ATMs that bank customers can access without the need for a physical card. On that note, the primer concluded with some thoughts on one of the most startling innovations in FinTech – ‘naked payments’, in which consumers’ biometrics are tied directly to their payment accounts, allowing them to make purchases with nothing but a simple fingerprint scan.
The Convenient Revolution
The trends detailed in our Primer were certainly exciting, but what was driving them? In our next Financial Biometrics Month feature, we delved into the enormous importance of convenience in today’s FinTech landscape. While biometric technology has historically been thought of primarily as a means to stronger security, we’re now at a point where this security is simply the jumping off point for an enhanced user experience.
As our feature on ‘The Convenient Revolution‘ points out, the iPhone’s biometric authentication technologies are emblematic of this potential. Apple’s fingerprint-scanning Touch ID system was instrumental in launching the mobile biometrics boom, but it wasn’t implemented simply to enhance security on the iPhone; Apple’s engineers astutely saw it as a way of letting user access their devices more easily, since all they had to do was touch the home button, rather than enter a PIN. Soon enough, copycats were everywhere, and Apple has now sought to push the technology forward by shifting to Face ID, an even easier – and even more secure – authentication system.
This desire for convenience has driven innovation all over FinTech, touching on all of the major trends outlined in our Primer, with The Convenient Revolution illustrating its namesake in detail.
The Big Show
For a lot of players in financial services, “convenient” is almost synonymous with “frictionless”. More than one speaker at this year’s Money20/20 event in Las Vegas referred to friction as ‘the new F-word’ in the industry; and biometric authentication offers an ideal means of minimizing friction, allowing consumers to confirm their identities without the need to bring physical identity documents into a local bank branch or perform similarly onerous verification rituals.
And so naturally, biometric technology was bigger than ever at this year’s premiere financial innovation event, as detailed in our feature, “Checking the Pulse of Biometric FinTech at Money20/20“. For a lot of financial services providers, the time to embrace biometrics is now. And in a related trend, the timing is also right for some big mergers on the solutions provider side, as evidenced in some major announcements made in Las Vegas while we were there.
Hear from the Experts
Speaking of good timing, there’s one more event that arrived at just the moment to cap off our Financial Biometrics Month coverage: The latest entry in FindBiometrics’ renowned webinar series, “Intelligent Biometrics and the New Face of Finance”. The webinar revolved around an expert panel that including senior executives from some of the biggest biometrics companies involved in FinTech, including BioCatch, FacePhi, and IDEMIA. It also featured Andrew B. Morris, Money20/20’s Chief Content Officer, who brought insights gleaned from overseeing the innovative solutions showcased at this year’s big show.
There’s no better way to glean insights straight from some of the brightest minds in biometric FinTech, so be sure to watch our recording of the discussion below:
We hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s in-depth coverage of the dizzying world of biometric FinTech. And while there has been a lot to take in, there’s also every reason to believe that the year to come will see even more activity and excitement around biometrics in financial services, so stay tuned to our ongoing reporting as the biometric money revolution continues.
November 7, 2018 – by Alex Perala