We have all got used to passwords, multistage safety inspection, but what if it becomes history? At least, in terms of the banking password, as this transaction may disappear – forever. Some best known and largest banks, like Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, arrived at the conclusion that traditional verification tool is either too proboscis or no longer safe. That is why they started using customers’ fingerprints, facial scans and other types of biometrics to protect accounts.
New Era of Banking System
These banks scan the fingers of the clients to admit into the accounts by using their smartphones. Such a feature enables a lot of American banking customers to attest the identities with the help of biometrics. In fact, it may be adopted by other banks worldwide, as more phones are incorporating fingerprint scanning system.
Well, some banks took it a step further: Wells Fargo allowed some clients scan the eye’s retina with their cellphones; Citigroup uses voice verification; USAA ascertains the identity of some of its clients through their facial features.
The representatives of USAA are convinced that the passwords are dying and such a novelty offers more protection, than email addresses, phone numbers, and other traditional ways to identify personality. But that does not guarantee that thieves are unable to steal biometric data, as some opponents believe.
Biometrics has been already tested by big banks over the decades, but it became more accurate and effective of late; there were many prototypes and many barriers. For example, bad lighting can foil a face, and background noise (or some medical condition) can scuttle voice recognition.
The generation of personal smartphones removed an extremely expensive hindrance: in order to get a finger-mark or scan an eye, a bank would have to invest zillion in the necessary technology. Today, things changed.
The new generation of mobile phones has fingerprint sensor and scanners, cameras and microphones to record data, which is needed to create a biometric ID. As some bank executives claim, a traditional password can be easily changed, but biometric data will last forever.
At the same time, it raises a concern that biometric data can become part of a private database, something of what the F.B.I. stores. The banks can’t keep copies of an actual print of fingers or an eye pattern – they create and keep what is called “templates” – information, which is based on a person’s fingerprints or eyeball scans.
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Potential Threat or the Solution?
In theory, thieves can somehow steal the biometric templates and use this data to rob money, but the banks say that the extra safeguards are developed. In order to prove that the customer is talking and not his voice recording, they implemented certain voice authentication systems. And thieves won’t be able to use a picture of an eye because many eye scanning systems require customers to blink or move their eyes.
Wells Fargo, in cooperation with Eye Verify, a start-up company from Kansas City, developed the eye scan technology, which is creating a map of the veins in the whites of an eye. In order to get access to the bank account, a client taps open this feature on a mobile phone. If successful, the client obtains instant access to the account.
More and more clients of the Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and USAA started implementing a fingertip or the eye scanning apps to get into their accounts because of the biometrics easy-to-use. Sure enough, there is a lot to be done and there are specific limits on how far the customers can proceed through the banking processes without providing the password.
The banks representatives are positive about such innovation, as it is easier to steal someone’s user ID and password than to take someone’s fingers.