Biometric Tipping Point: USAA Uses Face, Voice Recognition

USAA is letting its members log in to mobile banking in the blink of an eye — literally.

The San Antonio financial services company has rolled out facial recognition technology across its entire membership base that lets them access its mobile app with a tap of their smartphone camera and a blink when prompted (to prove they’re a live person and not a photo). USAA is also giving members the option of logging in with a spoken phrase.

This makes USAA the first major U.S. financial institution to deploy a full-scale rollout of voice and facial recognition. In an industry that has tried and failed to make biometric identification work for 50 years, USAA’s efforts could be a significant turning point.

One key reason why is the immense popularity of the smartphone. Smartphone cameras let users employ their own hardware to capture their facial characteristics. Device identity also provides assurance that the smartphone belongs to the right customer.

“The ubiquitous adoption of the smartphone has altered the market — you no longer need kiosks or readers, the smartphone is a multifactor edge device” for biometric authentication, said Tom Grissen, CEO of Daon, the Fairfax, Va. software company that developed the biometric technology with USAA (Daon is working on similar projects with several large banks).

Decades of improvements in voice and facial recognition are also helping reduce false negatives and friction — facial recognition takes two seconds. And a growing exasperation with forgotten, lost or stolen passwords may drive people toward face- or voice-based logins.

“Four out of five end customers who have experienced the technology prefer it over a PIN or password,” Grissen said.

By Penny Crosman – American Banker –

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Author: David McElroy

David Allen McElroy has served as a journalist and a chaplain to hospitals and nursing homes. He continues writing on the world-wide web and has much archived in the forum at BreakingAllTheRules.com. He has a B.A. in Bible from Fresno Pacific College. David stands for Truth, Justice, & Liberty in Christ's Love!