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Facial Recognition Technology – The Next Big Thing In Fintech?

DBS Now Allows Users to Sign Up for Digital Banking Services Using Face Identification

Facial recognition technology is set to create a big impact on the gamut of fintech offerings and innovations. In July 2020, DBS announced that Singpass users will be able to sign up to access a range of digital banking services using just – facial recognition.

A few other instances of face verification technology in fintech

Ant Financial’s Alipay and WeChat Pay by Tencent have point-of-sale (POS) facial recognition hardware. In October 2019, UnionPay introduced their payment via facial recognition as a service – their Face Scan Pay program. Thailand-based Digital bank, UOB has also enabled the use of facial recognition technology for bank account opening facilities. Global banks like Chase, HSBC, USAA use Apple’s FaceID to let customers securely log into their mobile banking apps. In 2016, Mastercard had launched their “selfie pay” app, a feature that allowed customers to approve their online purchases for instant payment.

There have already been several instances globally of banks implementing facial biometric and recognition systems to allow users access to banking facilities; some of these include Standard Bank in South Africa through a partnership with iiDentifii, since November 2018, Brazilian digital bank Original uses a facial recognition system, called Liveness, to allow account holders to authenticate transactions. In the recent past, Bank of Lithuania partnered with iDenfy to allow users to pass their electronic know-your-customer (eKYC) procedures using facial recognition.

Read More: Why Does Every Bank Need a Balanced Remote On-boarding Process?

Good for the underbanked?

In a release on Wednesday, 29th July, DBS and Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) shared that – The pilot programme at DBS aims to benefit more than 1 million DBS customers who are SingPass holders and do not use their digital banking services.

In this group, over 60% are seniors aged over 62.

The Covid-19 lockdowns have forced more numbers of users to rely on digital banking services, including seniors. According to reports, the number of digital banking users have doubled since the Covid-19 pandemic.

A picture speaks louder than words!

In a world of selfies, this new announcement and service will allow permanent residents and Singaporeans to sign up for various digital banking services by DBS providing them instant access to funds.

How it works

Using facial verification technology, DBS customers who are keen to use the feature are to send a selfie via the digiBank mobile app, the selfie is matched against their passport and other photo records within the Government’s biometric database.

Once there’s a match, DBS will send an SMS-OTP to the user’s registered mobile to initiate the next steps…

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The top benefits

The face verification option that allows users to either open an account or access a range of digital banking services leads to a quicker process. Given that 80% of the population will own a smartphone by 2022, shifts such as these are the required steps that need to be taken to allow users easy access to a range of services that are easily managed through their handheld devices.

Digital banking is set to change

The number of users who conduct most of their banking activities via a mobile app have doubled between 2017 and 2019. At DBS itself, close to one million users are independent digital banking users which denotes that they have not felt the need to visit a bank branch in over a year, because of their dependence on the app.

With more reliance on apps that allow users complete control over their financial needs using a device of their own choice, the range of features that comprise a 360 degree new-age digital banking solution is set to change. The growth of facial recognition technology will be supported by the need to strengthen identification of users for better management of sensitive information across multiple sectors like travel, defense, healthcare and the BFSI space among others.

According to an earlier report by Global Market Insights, the Facial Recognition Market size surpassed USD 3 billion in 2019 and is poised to grow at a CAGR of over 18% between 2020 and 2026. It’s safe to say that the BFSI sector will contribute to this percentage in a big way.

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