INTERVIEW: Ricardo Navarro, CEO, TOC Biometrics

Peter O’Neill, president of FindBiometrics, recently spoke with Ricardo Navarro, CEO of TOC Biometrics. TOC, based in Chile, specializes in identity verification and biometric technology and bears the distinction of being the first Latin American member of the FIDO Alliance. Its areas of application range from national ID programs to financial services and education. The following conversation begins with a brief background of TOC Biometrics before delving into the company’s innovative work on the Chilean National ID card, what it has to offer financial institutions, and the other vertical markets it is pursuing.

Peter O’Neill, President, FindBiometrics (FB): Can you please tell our readers about the background of your company?

INTERVIEW: Ricardo Navarro, CEO, TOC Biometrics

Ricardo Navarro, CEO, TOC Biometrics (TOC): We started in 2010 with our first customers and have been growing steadily since then. We have done a lot of internal research which has helped us become the leaders here in Chile and Peru. We have worked very hard on the acquisition of the image and the minutia extraction to obtain the best possible match in terms of false rejection rates. Our false rejection rate is between 0.2-0.6 percent. That is immensely better than our competitors and has helped in our steady growth since we started the company.

We have also added a lot of new solutions for our customers. For example, we created the electronics signature process and now we are signing more than 1 million documents per month, which for a country like Chile is really big.

FB: Can you please tell us about your no database solution?

South America IconTOC: We work with the Chilean National ID card which started to be issued in the year 2000 and it has the biometric information contained within it. So I can read it, de-encrypt it, and do a match with the live fingerprint of the owner of the National ID card. We don’t need a database as we don’t store the fingerprint. Each citizen or foreign resident comes with his documents and we read those and then compare it with the reading of his fingerprint. So that is how we manage to do this non database biometric system.


FB: We met at the Money20/20 show in Copenhagen in April, can you please tell us the various ways TOC can help the banks and financial institutions?

INTERVIEW: Ricardo Navarro, CEO, TOC BiometricsTOC: We can help the banks with all of our experience since 2010 working here in Chile and then also with Science Technology for Peru. Also with this one to one match with no database, total security and privacy—your biometric data is not stored by our company in a database, which can also be stolen… that is why security and privacy. Then we moved on with the introduction of Apple’s Touch ID and Samsung’s biometric sensor. We developed this solution in order to make your smartphone, what we like to call ‘the World ID Card.’ We created this solution which works for banks or any company that needs to verify its users. This new solution works with smartphones, tablets and, after Money20/20 in Copenhagen, we added eye verification. Not only finger biometrics because most of the phones don’t come with a biometric finger sensor so for that reason we added eye verification biometrics into all of our systems.

We have already integrated this with a bank here in Chile. What our customers can do, for example,  is they can login into your webpage without having to use a username or password. You scan a secure code from the bank’s webpage and you receive on your phone a push notification if you are doing the login. If you are then you just put your finger on the sensor or look at the camera with your eyes and you are logged in. It is just as easy as that. Or you can also do the same on an ATM machine which you would put in your card and that card knows who the owner is and which product and you receive the same notification on your phone asking if you are logging on to an ATM machine and you reply yes and you are in. So you don’t need to use PIN numbers or passwords etc.

We also have a new solution for the on-boarding process using the smartphone and our technology which complies with all EU and US banks directives.

FB: Besides the financial vertical market what other markets are you focusing on?

INTERVIEW: Ricardo Navarro, CEO, TOC BiometricsTOC: Well, right now we are focusing on banks because they have this urgent need for this kind of solution, for killing the password. Also we are working with retail companies and all of the processes that you can do online such as purchasing things, logging on or whatever. These are the companies that have the greatest need for this so that is who we are working with—banks and retail companies.

We are doing a test right now with a university so their students can log into the online platform or online courses and do secure sign in using their smartphone and biometric data.


FB: Ricardo, can you tell us if this has been a good year for your company?

TOC: Oh yes, absolutely! We have doubled our size and our customer base every year, everything has been doubling every year. This year is going very, very fast, and a lot of fun working this year. We have many new customers and this product that I have speaking about, has had a lot of interest from customers all over the world. So it is getting out there and we are starting to see our solutions deployed globally.

FB: I was very impressed when I met with you and your company in Copenhagen and I would like to wish you all the best as the year unfolds. And I couldn’t agree more, the market is moving very quickly and congratulations on having products that are very fitting the financial market needs and also those other markets you mentioned as well.

TOC: It has been my pleasure, Peter.