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  For decades, before biometrics, passwords have been the primary access control tool for users of digital platforms. And they still are, for the most part. But closer to the present, ill-intentioned agents have found ways to exploit the weaknesses of this tool, gain entry to users’ accounts, and steal their information (and money).
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In response to this, IT systems experts have developed other means of identification that provide stronger security than traditional passwords. Among the most trusted alternatives is biometric authentication. Biometrics basically relies on the unique physical and behavioural characteristics of individuals to identify them. For example, an app could require a person to provide their fingerprint in order to verify that they are indeed the owner of an account they are trying to log into. Other popular biometrics include facial recognition, voice recognition, iris scanning, and signature verification. Because FinTechs hold sensitive data and are often a gateway to their users’ funds, they may need to offer biometric security at least as an option besides (or in addition to) passwords and PINs. They could utilize any one of these:

Fingerprint Verification

This involves the use of a fingerprint scanner to confirm the identity of a platform’s user. It works because no two persons have the same fingerprint. Once a person sets up a user account on a FinTech app with their fingerprint, they can gain entry into it by having it captured and evaluated by an optical or thermal sensor.
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Many contemporary smartphones come with technologies that enable scanning, so they can facilitate fingerprint verification. It’s also familiar and much simpler than having to provide a long string of text, which is the case with passwords.

Voice Recognition

What is Voice Recognition? Voice & Speech Recognition Overview — RecFaces
RecFaces
As the name suggests, this option determines the identity of a person by evaluating their voice. Just as is the case with the other verification systems we discuss here, the human voice is unique to each individual; even voices that seem very similar differ from each other in subtle ways. Those variations allow for properly primed detectors to tell speakers apart. A combination of detection technologies and audio systems built into smartphones make voice recognition possible. It’s one of the more convenient authentication mechanisms; all that’s required is that the user speaks as they normally would.

Facial Recognition

What is facial recognition - and how sinister is it? | Biometrics | The  Guardian
The Guardian
Digital facial recognition identifies persons by capturing an image of their face and comparing it to previous images that have been stored in a database as code. The effectiveness of this system is based on the fact that each individual has a combination of facial outlines that don’t exist in other persons. However, if a subject suffers severe head injuries, they may find it difficult to have their face matched to previously available records. When used alongside other biometric methods, facial recognition may prove a hard nut to crack for would-be impersonators. What’s more, it’s relatively comfortable as it demands only minimal interaction with a scanning device (whether that’s s smartphone or something else).

Iris Scan

What's next for iris-recognition systems? | ASU News
ASU News
First introduced in the 1990s, iris scanning is recognized as one of the most effective authentication methods. It examines the eyes of users, scans their iris, and tries to match the data from the scan with previously available images that have been encoded in the relevant platform’s database. This means of identification is available to a growing number of people, thanks to scanning capabilities incorporated into modern higher-end smartphones. The great thing about this method is that the iris is unlikely to be affected by minor injuries, as it’s protected by layers of membrane; images of it will tend to be consistent over time. However, many phones aren’t tailored to scan an iris. This solution probably works better when presented to users as an option among multiple alternatives.
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Signature Recognition

Gradiant Signature: Handwitten signature recognition
Gradiant
For almost as long as they have existed, banks have required the signatures of customers to verify their identities as parties to transactions. This medium of authentication demanded at least one reason: it was difficult for impostors to replicate complex signatures. Modern technology is even better at deciphering the handwriting of individuals than the unaided human eye and can detect attempts at counterfeiting them. Signature recognition technology can work on many mobile touchscreen devices, so it’s something that can be provided to a large segment of the FinTech customer base.

Final Words

Financial technology apps that add biometrics to their assemblage of access control tools can guarantee greater security for their customers’ data. The protection that they make possible should get even better in the coming years, as the technologies that biometric systems depend on continue to improve. Featured Image Source: Frost & Sullivan
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This article was first published on 3rd December 2022

ikenna-nwachukwu

Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.


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