How biometric technology can be used for remote proof of life authentication

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The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital financial services, driving organizations to speed up their transformation programs globally. Most banks, as well as pension providers, are still in the early stages of integrating technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, and as the world continues to battle the long-term effects of COVID-19, the limitations of the current banking landscape have been laid bare.

However, if financial institutions plan to keep up with – or better yet, outperform the competition, they need to adapt to the digital age sooner rather than later. In order to meet consumer demands and match today’s pace of innovation, it is no longer an option to remain stagnant.

For traditional banks and firms that do, they may struggle to remain competitive. In fact, recent survey research from REBA found that nearly 70% of employees across varying sectors surveyed said they would engage more with their pension if they could manage it via an app. Aside from supporting new levels of efficiency, digital transformation creates an opportunity for institutions to offer enhanced value to the customer, which is extremely relevant in a market where a customer could easily decide to bank elsewhere.

Going digital is the future

One way that financial services companies can successfully ride the wave of digital transformation is with biometric technology. Biometric technology, such as voice recognition, typing cadence and touch ID fingerprint sensors, has been widely popularised by mobile phone providers in recent years. In addition to supporting the provision of low-cost affordable financial services, to those who can’t easily access in-person financial services, biometric technology is easing data privacy and securing concerns. This technology is particularly well suited to the banking industry and offers significant advantages for the bank and end-user alike. Certain forms of identification, such as passwords, are easy to counterfeit, which has led to a surge in identity theft.

Data from Action Fraud revealed that savers in the UK alone lost £1.8m to pension fraud in the first three months of 2021. According to its figures, there was an increase in the reporting of fraudulent activity, with 107 reports of pension scams being received by the organisation in Q1. This represents an increase of nearly 45% in comparison to the first three months of 2020.

Adapting services to modern threats To counteract this, the industry is increasingly looking to digital solutions such as two-factor authentication, facial biometric authentication and voice verification to enhance security and protect the financial information and identity of consumers. For example, Crown Agents Bank recently launched a suite of digital solutions (EMpower Pensions) to address the underlying causes of financial inclusion with the elderly. EMpower Pensions offers effective, end-to-end pensions management from one easy-to-use interactive platform, including Biometric Facial Authentication proof of life technology that serves as the perfect ancillary service to their core international pension payroll offering.

By providing access to enhanced digital pension services through an intuitive, secure digital proof of life platform, pension administrators can more efficiently and effectively verify the pensions payments that are being delivered to entitled beneficiaries whilst mitigating fraudulent activity and overpayments. EMpower Pensions also vastly improves the pensioner’s proof of life checking experience because the process is quick, convenient, and secure; all they need to do is log on to the portal, upload an image of their identification and take a live facial photo selfie.

With biometrics, they can simply authenticate themselves without having to obtain third-party attestation. Implementing biometric technology as part of a company-wide digital transformation in financial services isn’t without its obstacles and it’s something that is hard to find in the pensions market, which is dominated by expensive, manual paper-based solutions. But ultimately, businesses will benefit by offering services and solutions fit for the modern consumer.

Biometric technology does not just support basic consumer convenience, it provides improved access to vital services during periods where social contact may be restricted (such as a pandemic). By investing in a digital transformation now, financial services companies will make themselves more competitive and adaptable in today’s digital world – and tomorrow

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