Coinciding with the biggest conference event in the financial services industry – Money20/20 USA – October was Financial Biometrics Month at FindBiometrics. Financial services has become one of the most important verticals for biometric technology in recent years, and given the dynamism of this sector, it’s worth taking a close look at recent, ongoing, and future developments concerning biometric FinTech. That’s why each week, we’ve been delivering feature stories on the biggest trends in this area, offering perspective on the state of the art in 2019, and hints at where the industry is headed.
The Key Trends
Our coverage started off with an overview of the most salient topics in financial biometrics. The most immediate of these is probably the mobile revolution: consumers are increasingly doing banking and other financial transactions on their mobile devices, while the devices themselves are equipped with increasingly sophisticated biometric technologies that can be leveraged to secure those transactions while eliminating friction. This has been one of the biggest stories in FinTech in recent years.
But it’s also becoming clear what one of the next big stories could be: biometric payment cards. A number of biometrics specialists, card makers, and financial services providers – including Mastercard and Visa – have been actively trialing this technology, and it’s poised to deliver a transformative change as mass rollouts begin over the coming year. And beyond this trend, we’re also already seeing the emergence of “naked payments” systems that can bypass the use of payment cards altogether. It’s all outlined in our feature, “Three Ways Biometrics Are Revolutionizing Financial Services“.
The Next Wave
Keeping an eye on what’s next, our follow-up feature for Financial Biometrics Month took a closer look at the emergence of biometric payment cards. It details how intertwining trends in the mobile biometrics market and contactless payment cards prompted the development of fingerprint-scanning payment cards, and delves into the hurdle of biometric enrollment and how it has been cleared.
From there, “The Next Big Wave in Payments” offers an overview of the pilot programs underway and some of the major players involved in these trials. With many trials already completed, and the necessary technologies now in place, the industry is on the cusp of large-scale rollouts – and many consumers aren’t even aware that they’re coming.
Our next feature, “Mobile Revolutions in FinTech“, took us back to the present, with a detailed look at exactly how the mobile biometrics revolution has helped to facilitate mobile banking, and indeed become essential to the security of these transactions, in the wake of Apple’s introduction of the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint scanning system in 2013.
The feature also looks at a more recent shift in mobile biometric FinTech: the rise of selfie-based authentication. Like the fingerprint-scanning revolution, this shift has also been helped along significantly by Apple since the company launched its Face ID system with the iPhone X; but even before that, biometrics specialists were starting to offer mobile software designed to let banks reliably verify the identities of end users on mobile, thanks to selfie-driven facial recognition technology. This is now one of the biggest trends in FinTech, and the technology is still advancing in important ways, so it’s essential for decision makers in the financial services industry to get a handle on it.
Beyond the Wallet
The mobile theme carried on into the start of our final feature for Financial Biometrics Month, which began with a look at how smartphone-based payment systems were starting to bypass the need for payment cards in retail settings, and proceeded to assess how the post-wallet concept might play out in the long term. There are already functional systems designed to link consumers’ payment accounts directly to their biometrics, allowing them to make payments with a simple fingerprint or face scan, and nothing else. Likewise, there are now ATMs that can authenticate users with a biometric scan and no need for an actual bank card to be present. It’s too early to predict whether these kinds of biometrics-only financial services systems will be able to go mainstream, but as “Payments Ditch the Wallet” illustrates, it certainly appears that they could be the next wave after biometric payment cards, if consumers of the future can get comfortable with truly abandoning their wallets.
Of course, these in-depth features were just one aspect of FindBiometrics’ Financial Biometrics Month coverage. There was also the matter of Money20/20 USA, an industry event that attracts tens of thousands of industry professionals from around the world each year, including industry-leading C-suite executives.
Reporting live from the show floor, FindBiometrics had the opportunity to speak with a number of these industry experts, including executives from FacePhi, IDEMIA, Jumio, Daon, Veratad, BioCatch, BioConnect, Onfido, and the FIDO Alliance.
FindBiometrics also had the opportunity to facilitate one of Money20/20’s most interesting panels. Entitled “Invisible Authentication: How UIX-Focused Biometrics Can Make Passwords Disappear“, the panel was moderated by FindBiometrics VP of Digital Content Susan Stover, and saw a thought-provoking discussion between Onfido CEO Husayn Kassai, BioConnect CEO Rob Douglas, IDEMIA Civil ID SVP Matt Thompson, and Acuity Market Research Principal Analyst Maxine Most about topics including who should control user data, privacy and facial recognition, the convergence of physical and digital access control, and what biometric finance will look like in half a decade.
That discussion is a wrap, along with Money20/20, but the broader conversation isn’t over. FindBiometrics will follow up this major industry event with a webinar co-presented with Money20/20 entitled “Biometrics and Money” on November 13th, and our coverage of the latest exciting developments in biometric FinTech will continue as the financial biometrics revolution continues to unfold.
October 31, 2019 – by Alex Perala