The accelerated adoption and unprecedented growth of mobile devices has brought about a fundamental change in the payment and commerce market globally. Over the past few years, there has been a rapid increase in the usage of mobile devices to seamlessly conduct transactions, with mobile banking becoming the most revolutionary trend witnessed in the banking and payments domain. Industry reports indicate that the global mobile payment industry will witness an average annual growth of 35 percent over the next four years and will reach 721 billion U.S. dollars in 2017. Withthe adoption of a multitude of technological advancements, the banking and financial services market is on the cusp of transformational change.

Keynote session in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014
Keynote session in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014

The new technology that will soon be the norm in banking is biometrics. While governments across the globe have adopted biometrics technology to issue national ID cards, passports, driver’s licenses and other government-issued identity credentials, the use of biometrics in other domains has been relatively under-utilized. Sectors such as telcos, retail, health, online and mobile banking and insurance will also be quick to deploy biometric enabled technology.

Biometric technology essentially uses characteristics that are unique to an individual for identification purpose, and helps combat identity theft by replacing passwords and authenticating transactions.While it is still in its infancy, banking institutions across the world are considering deploying biometrics technology for mobile devices to offer a heightened customer experience and provide a secure banking experience.Primarily used in developed markets, many developing regions can also use biometrics to deliver financial services within reach to the world’s unbanked.

A few of the global banks and financial institutions have piloted programs integrating biometrics technology – voice-controlled mobile applications, fingerprint identification and retina recognition systems – thereby allowing customers to access their online accounts via a mobile application.To maintain global competitiveness, there have been few banks in the Middle East that have been at the forefront in deploying biometrics technology, replacing the traditional password system and providing a more convenient and secure customer authentication experience.

With a surge in cyber-crime, the need for a stronger authentication tool has become imperative. To deal with fraud and security breaches, increase consumer confidence and further improve its brand equity, banks are considering using latest technological solutions to augment its authentication protocols and strengthen the bank’s defenses against a security threat.

Compared to traditional banking mechanisms, the adoption of biometrics technology offers a gamut of benefits including operational simplicity, time efficiency, elimination of password management, fast and secure online banking and most importantly, heightened customer convenience and satisfaction. An industry study forecasts that by 2017 over one billion customers will be using banking services through biometric systems and by the year 2020, biometrics will become the predominant identity authorization method for accessing bank services.

Considered as the most cutting edge banking authentication process, biometrics will bring in a noticeable transformation in the mobile banking space.The implementation of biometrics in banking is a core topic that will be discussed at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit on 14-15 September 2015, at Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa.

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