Digital Suite

Biometric ID verification to become mainstream in Credit Unions

Whether it’s your thumb, your voice or your face, accessing your sensitive data from anywhere in the world is becoming increasingly intuitive. A 2018 report by Goode Intelligence forecasted that 1.9 billion bank customers will be using some form of biometric identification by 2021. Already, a growing number of financial institutions are using biometric data, like fingerprints, to replace or augment passwords and other forms of member verification.

Biometrics in Credit Unions is not new

In 2017, Health Services Staffs Credit Union (HSSCU) were the first Financial Institution in Ireland to launch Touch ID (in partnership with Wellington IT and TouchTech – who have recently been acquired by Stripe) which uses a QR-code and fingerprint as a secure, convenient gateway for members to access their online banking.

TouchTech works with Financial Institutions to help them build and manage Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), a verification process that will typically require customers to provide two different forms of authentication from card holders in order to process transactions.

For Credit Unions, biometrics shorten member login time, and improve security and operational efficiency.

The (very near) future of Biometrics

SCA will be required on most transactions in Europe from 14th September 2019.

SCA is part of PSD2, a wider payments directive that will be implemented across Europe. The idea is that, from September, people buying items will be required to provide two forms of verification when making online transactions — for example entering a code from their phones or another connected device like a wearable; a biometric scan; or a separate PIN.

The two forms of verification must be from the list below:

  • A knowledge factor (something you know, such as a password)
  • A possession factor (something you have, such as a payment card)
  • An inherent factor (something you are, such as a fingerprint scan)

Wellington IT already adhere to all three factors for our secure online banking solution. Something you know – PIN/password. Something you have – mobile device. Something you are – fingerprint.

Facial recognition

This year, we will see Credit Unions offer new forms of biometric identification for ID verification and ID renewal. For example, when a member joins a Credit Union, they currently need to provide proof of their identity. Biometric identification such as facial recognition will enable a member to do this securely online by carrying out both a “liveness test” video (to ensure they aren’t just holding up a photograph to the camera) and getting them to take a picture of either their passport or driver’s licence to verify this.

The system will automatically match the liveness test to the photo on the passport or driver’s licence and verify whether these are valid using verification techniques based on the data printed on it e.g. check digits. The Credit Union will then get a report with a “pass” or “fail” status.

This means that the member does not need to visit the Credit Union to have their ID verified, saving time for both the member and the Credit Union.


Biometrics in more detail

To read more about Biometrics, and to ensure you’re at the forefront of future trends emerging in FinTech, read our eBook “Future of FinTech in Irish Credit Unions”.