Safety First: Biometrics, Fingeprinting and Remote Deposits

Security in banking has always been a vital factor for both attracting new customers and ensuring existing ones have a great degree of satisfaction and trust.

Threats to this security come from several directions, aimed at both users and banks and financial institutions alike. These include flawed authentication, lost or stolen devices, malware (in both ads and apps), exploits that access your banking app for login information (i.e. username and password) through a related app (e.g. a shopping app) or even fake wi-fi hotspots which collect your banking details and your personal information (name, address or phone number).

So what is being done to combat these threats? Well, several technological developments have stepped up to oppose them, and even though they’re still not foolproof, they have greatly increased security.

First off, there’s device fingerprinting: collecting information about the device that distinguishes the true customer from a potential fraudster. Next there’s remote deposit capture: users snap a picture of a paper check on their mobile device and deposit a check electronically.


Another security measure and one that is poised to become commonplace as early as 2019 is a technology that was, not that long ago, mostly seen in sci-fi films: biometrics. Biometrics means personal identification based on unique biological patterns on and in a customer’s body: iris and retina inside eyes, fingerprints, vein pattern beneath the skin, facial pattern, DNA sequence, voice print, gait, typing rhythm, etc.

Biometrics are already being embraced by major players – Wells Fargo’s mobile banking apps feature eye-scanning technology, Citigroup has deployed voice authentication, and Bank of America is making good use of fingerprint scanners.

Finally, there is AI, watching financial traffic to detect fraud, but also searching the web to gather knowledge on how to fight against it. Since computers can now not only read digits or text but also understand the context, they can predict a user’s behavior and thus prevent fraud attempts.

But it’s also vital to not giving in to fear and to allow a bank’s security team to perform their work without hindrance. Involving them at the early stages of an app or service development is the way many risks can be identified and mitigated, before they become an actual problem or threat.

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