Biometrics Catching on With Credit Unions
Reviews and ratings for biometrics at credit unions continue to show overwhelmingly positive results whether used to authenticate members at branches or on mobile devices, or employees logging in to workstations.
In the past 30 years, biometrics moved from mostly fingerprinting to many other methods that measure or analyze an individual's voice, speech, face, iris, retina, hand geometry, facial thermography, keystroke dynamics, gait, body odor, veins, foot and palm prints, handwriting (or signature) and even tongue.
Fiserv's Verifast, Palm Authentication technology integrates Fujitsu palm-vein biometrics to improve operational efficiency. In addition, credit unions employing the technology also seek to consolidate and restructure employee identification, allowing them to focus more on member engagement.
“Most of biometrics are member facing,” Chris Van Der Stad, SVP/chief technology officer, Open Solutions for Fiserv, noted. According to the Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv, palm biometrics historically reduced member authentication time by 93%.
In this use case through Fiserv's Verifast, Palm Authentication specifically deals with the multiple credentials staff needs to access applications to perform their jobs by automating authentication through the palm biometric option.
Van Der Stad added what they’re finding is the number of times many employees sign on in a given day, and the number of different applications they are required to do their job, is higher than they thought. “We’re looking to provide them some efficient, productivity gains but also provide them some security of the application.”
The non-disruptive process uses a mouse equipped with a palm reader to detect each employee's palm-vein pattern as they lay their hand on the device. “When a person runs an application for the first time in a given day it captures the palm readings for authentication. If the person times out then it re-authenticates that person,” Van Der Stad noted.
The solution is pre-configurable for Fiserv products but it comes with a development tool to also connect to non-Fiserv products as well. “The goal is to build an experience that uses the biometrics across all applications regardless of who provides those applications,” Van Der Stad said.
Van Der Stad said some of the early numbers of apps configured to use Verifast, Palm Authentication at financial institutions shocked him. “On average our clients are asking us to code to 50 to 100 different applications as part of this implementation. That tells me our clients are using this for a lot of applications throughout their organization.”
Van Der Stad pointed out some credit unions implement the technology to solve a certain pain point, such as eliminating the need for call center reps to log into multiple systems as they engage members. “Anything we credit unions can do to drive a better member experience is good.”
Like many credit unions, the $442.5 million Odessa, Texas-based Complex Community Federal Credit Union uses a number of vendors, and therefore encounter numerous logins and passwords. When Fiserv presented an opportunity to streamline the process the credit union jumped at the opportunity.
“Complex Community Federal Credit Union does not typically beta test solutions. However, the moment we learned about Fiserv's Verifast, Palm Authentication and the breadth of benefits it affords our credit union; we could not wait to experience it first-hand,” CCFCU VP of Information Technology Tammy Chambers said. “I went from maintaining pages of complex user names and passwords to becoming a Verifast power user overnight. Now, I effortlessly scan my palm to start my day and when authenticating into over 100 applications used daily.”
The biometrics process also supplies ROI value through the password reset function. Previously when locked out of their accounts, employees needed to call somebody in IT for a password reset. With Fiserv's palm technology, internal call volume drops dramatically in IT for those types of issues.
It's available to every Fiserv client through a license regardless of what product they are using including on-premise and hosted clients. Other than meeting minimal requirements on the desktop there is no other requirement that the client has to purchase ahead of time.
Fiserv also employs the Verifast, palm technology as a member facing authentication method as well. For example, the $1.7 billion, Richland, Wash.-based Gesa Credit Union reads palms to reduce identity fraud, shrink transaction times and improve overall branch service. The Verifast solution validates members’ IDs when they hold their hand over an infrared sensing device, which captures each member's biometric data and eliminates the need to present other identification.
Gesa won two awards for its use of the Verifast palm technology: the IDC Financial Insights FinTech Rankings Real Results Award for customer engagement, and the Retail Banking Security Innovation of the Year for pioneering the use of biometrics in their branches.
Another fintech company on the biometric technology, NCR, has seen biometrics take off with mobile banking. “Our biometric story has really caught a gravy train,” Dan Weis, NCR's mobile product leader, said. NCR offers three financial biometrics solutions to make its mobile banking app easier to use – Apple Touch ID, Android Fingerprint ID and EyeVerify's Eyeprint ID.
Today, authentication by biometric verification is becoming more common in consumer electronic devices, security systems, and ATM/point-of-sale applications. However, its applicability as a method of authentication in mobile banking and payments helped it gain momentum.
“We have gotten 80% adoption from institutions. They’ve embraced biometrics in a way that allows them to differentiate from larger institutions they might compete with in their market in taking advantage of what mobile offers,” Weis suggested.
The biometric capabilities allow consumers to engage often and consistently, Weis added. “We saw Touch ID users increase their logins 72% on a monthly basis from prior to using Touch ID. We still see that trend continuing to hold and often increase as well.”
In addition, they have observed consistent behavior among members whether using Apple Touch ID, Android Fingerprint ID and EyeVerify's Eyeprint ID. While the adoption numbers for Android Fingerprint ID lag behind the Touch ID numbers, Weis attributes that to Apple making fingerprint available on its devices first.
“What we’re seeing is users really preferring an experience that comes native to their device. It's much easier to do, you don't have to think differently,” Weis explained.
“Biometrics removes mobile-banking friction in a way that no one could have thought possible,” Weis maintained. “We’re seeing consumers checking their banking app maybe as much as they’re looking at Facebook. That is kind of crazy to say, that a credit union member is checking their credit union app on such a regular basis. It has become part of their routine; it's great for credit unions.”
The $1.44 billion, Phoenix-based Arizona Federal Credit Union, for example, uses all three NCR biometric methods. Biometrics gives its members multiple ways to quickly and securely log in to their Arizona Federal account through its mobile app.
Biometrics is changing the way members interact with their financial institution. Getting people to log in so much more is redefining how a credit union operates.
“NCR is setting up these credit unions to offer members what they want as soon as humanly possible. These CUs want to ensure their members see them as innovative trendsetters. Taking advantage of these types of biometrics has definitely been a key item of the last two years.” Weis added.
More biometrics is on the way. Eazy Financial Services B.S.C., a Bahraini financial technology company, will introduce the region's first Biometric Payment Network powered by NCR Corporation. The network allows consumers to register their fingerprint through a participating financial institution and then use it at any device (ATM or POS) to initiate a transaction rather than using a card.