The ubiquitous selfie may find yet another niche in the area of personal finances. Your bank may request one when approving a purchase or considering a credit card application.
Visa Inc., a payment processing giant, is launching a platform that will allow banks to use various forms of biometrics such as fingerprints, face recognition, voice, etc., that will provide positive identification.
In its simplest form, a bank may ask for a selfie and a picture of a current driver’s license or passport as backup. The technology will compare the photos for facial similarities and the validity of the supporting license or passport, all within seconds.
Selfies also could come into the picture with online shopping. Chipped credit and debit cards have made some inroads into fraud in retail shopping, but protecting online shoppers still is a concern. One in six potential transactions is declined because of suspicious activity.
Banks routinely autodial a customer when there is a question. The new technology would allow the customer to use Apple’s Touch ID or other fingerprint recognition technology or provide a selfie to verify the transaction.
Visa Inc. officials believe that soon customers can choose among a variety of authentication methods, whichever technology suits them.
The recent breach of data at Equifax, a huge credit bureau, with millions of bits of personal data stolen, has been impetus for more serious thinking about how such information can be protected.
It is harder to mimic a person’s face, fingerprint or voice, the innovators say. Passwords that have been common methods of protecting information have flaws that make them vulnerable because few people change them frequently enough or make them complex enough to avoid fraud. If they use the same password for more than one purpose, a breach at one site will put other locations at risk.
It is likely that the technology will be initially used in larger financial institutions. It took two years for chip technology to integrate itself into financial transactions. But ultimately, banks and other financial companies are likely to see the advantages of biometric identification and offer it as another safeguard for customers.