Blunt truth about authentication: it’s not just about security

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an explosion in digital fraud. The UK’s national fraud reporting centre has received thousands of reports of phishing attempts that exploit people’s fears of coronavirus.

The health crisis has illuminated a prevailing misconception that authentication is all about security. Wiser businesses, however, know security mustn’t jeopardise customer experience. And delivering it in a customer-centric, frictionless way necessitates smart onboarding and authentication.

Needless to say, this isn’t easy. Authentication is not a single event anymore; it’s a journey that flows from customer onboarding to mobile, web and contact centre authentication, to account recovery. Using multiple solutions for each step makes seamlessness all but impossible.

“The truth is most identity platforms are very secure, but some unintentionally add unnecessary friction to the user experience,” says Clive Bourke, president, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific, at Daon, which develops and deploys customer onboarding and authentication solutions.Daon statistics

“When a company puts out a request for a new customer identity solution, too often the specifications revolve more around secure authentication and less customer engagement or how the customers are registered in the first place.”

Companies will benefit from a single platform that connects all channels and stages of their customer identity life cycle. Daon has pioneered methods for securely and conveniently combining biometric and identity capabilities across multiple channels. Its IdentityX® platform orchestrates the creation, authentication and recovery of a user’s identity and allows businesses to conduct transactions seamlessly with any end-customer.

With this approach, security and ease of use need no longer be opposing priorities. US financial services firm USAA has reported zero evidence of mobile channel fraud while simultaneously achieving the highest net promoter score in banking for the tenth consecutive year.

Atom bank has personalised and streamlined onboarding and authentication for its customers, registering their face, voice and a PIN when onboarding them and then using the biometrics to authenticate them easily later.

“Prioritising security and customer service is fundamental,” says Rana Bhattacharya, chief technology officer at Atom bank, the UK’s first bank built exclusively for mobile and the number-one rated UK bank on Trustpilot.

“We exist to create better customer outcomes and want to take the worry, frustration and pain of existing processes away for our customers by offering them the best possible experience when using our products. We’re constantly listening to our customers’ feedback, which is invaluable to us and we use this feedback to make things better for them.”

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) is monetising these services through Polarify, a joint venture with SMFG, Daon and NTT Data that provides Electronic Know-Your-Customer (e-KYC), or onboarding, and authentication as a service in the Japanese market.

“The speed with which the digital market is changing in Japan is phenomenal and users are demanding frictionless and security in equal measure,” says Polarify chief executive Tomohiro Wada. “We now have dozens of customers doing cross-channel onboarding and authentication, which proves the demand for solving this problem.”

Daon advises companies to start with digital onboarding, allowing customers to open an account on a mobile app or web browser, anytime, anywhere. This can be secured by three-dimensional facial biometrics that detect fraudulent presentation attacks, and the user-friendly process completes in minutes.

Next, banks should solve authentication issues across all channels, including the contact centre, which is often the biggest challenge. By bringing voice biometrics and other factors to their customers, they can prevent fraud losses, reduce their average call time by 25 to 45 seconds, contain more calls within interactive voice response and deliver markedly better customer experiences, in addition to better security.

“The smart companies understand it’s about security and a frictionless experience for their customers,” says Daon’s Bourke. “Now they are focusing on orchestrating a consistent onboarding and authentication capability that can be reused across brands to deliver seamless cross-channel user journeys to their customers.”

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