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WHY BEHAVIOURAL BIOMETRICS IS THE KEY TO DIGITAL BANKING SECURITY

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By Richard da Silva, VP EMEA at Revelock

 

More and more people are switching to digital channels for a convenient banking and payments experience. 14 million Brits already had a digital-only bank account back in January 2021, and this is projected to grow by an additional 10 million over the next five years. Banks and other financial institutions naturally want to uphold a smooth customer experience for these digital users. However, as cybercriminals seize upon the opportunity presented by an increased pool of targets, banks are inevitably caught between a rock and a hard place – balancing a seamless digital experience with stringent fraud prevention methods.

To make matters worse, fraud teams are up against an increasingly complex, intelligent, and rapidly growing field of bad actors – and traditional fraud prevention techniques simply can’t keep up. Banks cannot afford to compromise on their customers’ safety, so they need to find a way to protect users at every stage of the online journey, whilst still maintaining a frictionless experience. The best way in which to do both at the same time is to employ the latest innovations in fraud prevention technology to analyse behavioural biometrics across the user journey.

Richard da Silva

 

What are behavioural biometrics?

From unlocking their smartphones to facial recognition at passport control, many online banking customers will already be familiar with authentication that utilises physical biometrics – which can include a scan of a fingerprint, a face, or any other physiological feature which can serve as user identification. Physical biometrics can certainly improve digital banking security, especially when used alongside other methods as part of a multi-factor authentication approach.

Alone, however, physical biometrics are relatively easy for bad actors to undermine, as they can simply replicate these physical features – especially in a social media age when many people’s images are publicly available online. Moreover, the recent emergence of technologies such as voice-cloning and the creation of ever-more convincing ‘deepfakes’ means it is becoming more and more common for fraudsters to replicate their victims’ physical traits – which they can then use to carry out all kinds of online banking and payments fraud, and ultimately run away with customers’ money.

Behavioural biometrics analysis, on the other hand, looks at a user’s pattern of behaviour during their online interactions – such as their typing speed, touchscreen pressure, or the way they move their mouse – which is completely unique to each user and cannot be replicated in the same way as physical biometrics. By leveraging solutions founded in behavioural biometrics, banks and other financial institutions can analyse thousands of parameters surrounding a user’s behaviour throughout every online banking session, to ensure to the highest degree of accuracy that the user is who they say they are and is not being impersonated or manipulated.

 

An innovative, adaptive fraud prevention solution

Behavioural biometric analysis works most effectively when it is implemented as part of a multi-faceted fraud detection and prevention solution which focuses on a Know Your User (KYU) approach. Traditional fraud prevention methods usually compare users and their behaviours to bad actors to determine if they are genuine, which can lead to false positives and thereby unnecessary customer friction in the form of stepped-up authentication.

Instead, behavioural biometric analysis can be combined with device, network, and threat intelligence data to build a BionicID – essentially a digital fingerprint – that is unique to each online user, whether a genuine customer or bad actor. In short, this KYU approach asks the question “are you really you?” and assesses this on a granular level, comparing every user interaction to their own previous behaviours as well as that of bad actors to establish the user’s identity as a genuine customer. This approach is highly accurate in verifying the user, with as little as two interactions producing an accuracy of over 90%. What’s more, this KYU approach utilises deep learning technology to ensure the identification of each user becomes increasingly accurate with every interaction.

 

Complete end-to-end protection

Banks need to ensure complete security at every stage of the online customer journey, as bad actors will look to exploit vulnerabilities at every opportunity. Fortunately, this is where a behavioural biometric-based solution once again comes in handy. Banks can implement continuous authentication by analysing each online user’s BionicID at every interaction – from login, to transaction, to logout, making it near impossible for any threat to slip through undetected.

Implementing this approach ensures that digital processes will remain frictionless for genuine customers, as the behavioural biometric analysis occurs ‘behind-the-scenes’, without the need for increased user interaction. Fraud teams can also use this technology-led approach to calibrate automated fraud responses based on the risk-level of the threat detected – meaning the volume of false positives and associated customer friction will be dramatically reduced.

Once fraud has occurred or funds have been stolen, the damage has been done – trust is broken, reputations damaged – even if the money can be recovered. A configured automated response based on behavioural biometric analysis allows financial institutions to take a proactive approach to online fraud – in effect preventing such attacks before they can even occur.

 

 

Banking

WHY THE TIME IS NOW TO BANK BEYOND BORDERS

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by Lili Metodieva, MD of Monneo

 

As our world becomes more interconnected, so too does the need for banking systems to follow suit. In the past, businesses and individuals were often restricted to banking in a single country, but the rise of borderless banking is enabling both to benefit from greater financial freedoms. In this article, we will examine why this trend is so important and explain how Fintech companies are helping to make it possible.

 

What is borderless banking?

Simply put, borderless banking refers to any bank account, which allows users to spend, send and receive money across different countries and currencies, without incurring heavy fees. The concept has become increasingly popular in recent years, with more people now working in cross-border job roles and with many businesses requiring capital in a different currency than that of their country of origin.

For customers, borderless banking is making cross-border financial transactions more efficient and cost-effective. Through its rise, businesses and individuals can gain easier access to international streams of capital, which is crucial in this current moment of economic uncertainty. In fact, 74% of companies say cross-border payments have helped their business to survive [1].

 

Where do IBANs come in?

International Banking Account Numbers (IBAN) play a crucial role in facilitating borderless banking. The globally recognised system enables cross-border transactions to happen safely, by providing each international bank account with its own unique 36-digit alphanumerical code. On account of this code, financial institutions can quickly identify where funds are coming from, as well as where they’re going to.

More recently, providers such as us have been able to deliver Virtual IBANs (vIBAN). Working alongside a network of well-established European and International banks, we’re able to offer businesses a single platform interface that consolidates the management of all IBAN accounts. In turn, our multi-currency service makes conducting global financial transactions incredibly straightforward.

 

How has Brexit affected borderless banking?

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of borderless banking and services related to it, but other developments, such as Brexit are beginning to stand in its way. Most notably, the drawn-out withdrawal process has seeded a growing reluctance amongst risk averse, larger organisations to settle transactions using UK bank accounts or IBANs, due to unfounded concerns around regulatory complexity.

Despite leaving the EU, the UK remains a member of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), so it’s unclear why these concerns around British IBAN accounts exist. Regardless, this unfortunate development must be addressed quickly as it has the potential to adversely affect the livelihood of businesses and individuals at a time of critical need.

 

What does the future hold for borderless banking?

There’s clear demand for borderless banking and borderless payments, but the discrimination of certain IBAN accounts represents a major obstacle, which could stand in the way of their widescale adoption. Moving forward, there needs to be a push towards borderless IBANs, which will make international financial transactions more reliable. At the end of the day, this is what IBANs were originally created for, so it’s important the current problems are rectified quickly.

To ensure this can happen, the industry needs protection and clarity from regulators. Likewise, it’s now time for membership organisations to stand up on behalf of the sector and lobby for the financial inclusion of businesses.

If the confusion regarding UK IBAN accounts can be sorted in a timely manner, businesses across the nation, as well as those further afield can look forward to a future of more streamlined and effective financial services. With this support, the diverse sector can deliver further access to innovative financial services and products, which improve outcomes for businesses and consumers alike.

As a sector, Fintech has the potential to provide vital assistance to the wider economy, particularly in an era of increased cross-border business. At Monneo, we’re committed to being part of that change and as a part of organisations like ‘Accept my IBAN’, are working towards reporting and ending IBAN discrimination.

[1] – https://www.mastercard.com/news/research-reports/2021/borderless-payments-report/

 

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Banking

IT’S TIME FOR BANKS TO SIT THEIR CUSTOMERS DOWN AND TALK OPEN BANKING

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Eugene Danilkis, CEO at Mambu

 

We are living in an experience economy, and banking is no different. Customers need innovative payment and finance management solutions. New entrants are edging into the landscape and challenging existing players. This should mean users have a better view of their finances and the tools they need to manage their money – but banks are failing to deliver.

Personal finances are a complex beast, emotional pulls are strong, and the worry of financial security is always on the mind. It’s the job of banks to be the shoulders customers can lean on and trust.

Open banking was supposed to take this to the next level, enabling banks to deliver personalised products and services based on improved data sharing and customer insights. But three years on, adoption remains sluggish. So, why is open banking failing to live up to its promise?

 

A missed opportunity

Open banking was introduced to the UK in 2018, but consumers are still mired in confusion as to what it means and how it helps them. According to Mambu’s global open banking survey, 61% of consumers say they’ve never used open banking, despite more than 8 in 10 using one or more mobile banking apps.

Eugene Danilkis

This is a problem for banks and consumers alike. Lack of understanding around the technology is hindering its adoption, despite this being in the best interests of both. By enabling the secure sharing of financial information, open banking creates an improved customer experience. Not only does this minimise friction and make online payments faster and easier, but allows for personalised services and greater automation, enabling customers to take advantage of tools like budgeting apps.

For banks, open banking is an opportunity to build innovative new products that will improve the customer journey, helping them retain accounts and acquire new ones. By collaborating with third parties, banks can hyper-target customers and build services that address specific user needs, increasing customer satisfaction and in turn brand loyalty.

It’s true there’s been a recent spike in open banking users. According to Juniper Research global, open banking users rose from 18 million in 2018 to 40 million in 2021. But this can be traced to the necessities of a pandemic rather than any sudden clarity in communications.

 

Putting customers at the heart of communication

Mambu’s research shows more than half of consumers (52%) have never heard of open banking. COVID-19 may have increased the uptake of the technology, but it hasn’t increased understanding among users.

So, what can banks do to encourage consumers to embrace open banking? Fundamentally, they must better educate their customers in terms they understand. This means talking to them like human beings, using clear and transparent language to simply explain the personal benefits open banking brings and why it’s really just smart banking.

The understanding gap between technology and terminology shows that consumer demand is there, but better communication is needed. Making sure consumers truly understand the tools they’re using, the control they now have over their finances and how open banking improves the customer experience is vital to dispersing the current fog of confusion. It’s the benefits of this technology that banks need to hone in on: customers ultimately care about what open banking can do for them and how it’s going to make their lives easier.

Centering the customer and their needs in this way will allow banks to fully realise open banking’s potential. The technology has already given them the opportunity to develop valuable services for customers that help build brand loyalty. But the industry has failed to put the customer at the heart of their communications and processes, and show them how much better banking can be.

 

Building trust

Key to reversing this trend is addressing consumer concerns around data privacy and financial safety. Yes, banks need to prioritise simplicity and clarity in messaging, but this isn’t an excuse to shy away from important conversations. Just because there’s an understanding gap around open banking doesn’t mean consumers aren’t switched on about tech and financial issues.

Mambu’s survey found nearly three in five customers have concerns about privacy and security in relation to open banking. So, it’s vital that banks provide reassurance and relevant information about data sharing from the outset if they’re to assuage these fears.

The industry can also encourage greater adoption by developing and improving open banking interfaces. Banks are the gatekeepers to how easily end-users can authorise certain actions, manage third-party access and navigate different open banking functions. If the interface is user-friendly, customers will have a better experience of the technology and be more likely to use and recommend these services.

 

Time to get talking

Customer communication is holding the industry back.. The ability of open banking to transform financial services is a concept that industry players are well-versed in. But the feeling isn’t mutual for customers.

Banks are failing to capitalise on the open banking opportunity by engaging with new and existing customers about what the technology can do for them. Debunking  common myths can open the door to increased growth and trust for banks, as they seek to open up new revenue streams post pandemic..

Make no mistake, open banking isn’t going away. But customers will if banks don’t get talking.

 

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