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October 20, 2017

Visa builds new platform for banking biometrics

Could this biometrics push from Visa be the move that makes the technology commonplace in banking?

By Tom Ball

Global payments provider, Visa, is bringing biometrics to banking with the new Visa ID Intelligence platform, targeting easy integration and adoption of the disruptive technology.

Visa is working with an identity solutions provider, Daon, an organisation that has previously developed a biometrics platform called IdentityX.

By leveraging this new platform, banks are set to be able to integrate an array of biometric approaches including voice, fingerprint and facial recognition.

This process may involve taking a sequence of photos, one of yourself, and potentially photos of your photographic identification too. By introducing these additional factors, security is intended to be robust.

Tom Grissen, CEO, Daon, said: “Visa ID Intelligence is revolutionary in both scope and implementation, and will benefit consumers who are growing more and more frustrated by an antiquated password system. Visa understands it is critical to provide both security and convenience, and that’s what Daon delivers through our proven biometrics platform, IdentityX.”

Excitement surrounding biometrics for advanced security has been mounting, but in recent banking use cases the technology has not proven watertight.

David Emm, Principal Security Researcher, at Kaspersky Lab: “Biometric data, unlike a username or password, is persistent: we carry it with us for life. There’s one major downside to its use – stored by a service provider, biometric data is just as valuable as a database containing usernames and passwords.”

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“However, any security breach resulting in leakage of this information is likely to have much more serious consequences than the theft of a password: after all, we can change a weak password, but we can’t change a compromised fingerprint, iris scan or other biometric,” Emm said.

Voice recognition security implemented by HSBC was recently bested by the twin brother of a customer. While it might be unsurprising to some that a twin was able to pass as the other, seven attempts were allowed before access to controls was gained.


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Despite professionals having some reservations regarding biometrics, a survey conducted by Mastercard and the University of Oxford found that 93 per cent of UK consumers would choose to use it if it meant they no longer needed to use passwords.

Inadequacies and inefficiencies associated with passwords are driving interest in biometrics, with many feeling burdened by the requirement for them to be more complex, and regularly changed. Inevitably, security weaknesses arise with very few people handling their passwords effectively.

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