Customers keen to embrace fingerprint recognition for online banking security


Fingerprint recognition looks set to become consumers’ preferred way to verify their identity when accessing financial accounts online.

In recent research, 31% of respondents said that fingerprint recognition would be their favoured security method when logging into financial accounts via the web, just 1% behind the traditional method of using passwords.

This is despite such technology being a relatively new phenomenon in the UK. So far only two UK banks, RBS and NatWest, have introduced the service; the research indicates that other providers will need to catch up in order to meet their customers’ expectations.

The online survey, commissioned by Equifax and conducted by YouGov, showed that answering security questions is the third most popular authentication method (21% selected this as their preference), while voice recognition was the least popular option, with just 3% of respondents considering it their preferred security measure.

Some 23% of respondents admitted to a general frustration when using the internet for financial reasons. However, the biggest source of specific frustration among consumers was having to remember all the passwords and security questions (cited by 45% of respondents), followed by 25% mentioning having to use additional devices such as smartphones or card readers to log-in as an issue and 20% being frustrated by too many security questions.

The Equifax research highlights the increasing shift of customers’ attitudes toward fingerprint recognition, as new technologies become a familiar part of everyday life.

With internet fraud and ID theft on the rise, technological advances have pushed the development of biometrics – such as the use of fingerprints, iris scans and photos – as a means of authenticating identity and ensuring smooth and more secure transactions.

John Marsden, fraud and identity expert at Equifax, stressed: “While fingerprint and biometric technology usage in the financial industry is still in its infancy in the UK, the research shows that customers view it as a secure method of verifying their identity. The public is ready to embrace fingerprint recognition and it is important that financial providers act accordingly. 

“As technology evolves, we are seeing a shift in security preferences online. New biometric technologies could potentially see traditional means for authenticating identity online, such as passwords and security questions, become a thing of the past. Using fingerprint technology helps protect customers without the need to remember multiple passwords and pin numbers, while speeding up transactions and making the process more seamless. In coming years we are likely to see a shift in the market as more banks and retailers adopt fingerprint and biometrics as standard.

“Verifying customers’ identity is pivotal to preventing fraud. Organizations are increasingly embracing innovation and adopting new tools to tackle fraud, while at the same time ensuring that user experiences are not negatively impacted. Maintaining this balance is a key to a successful fraud strategy.”

Which one, if any, of the following security methods would you most prefer to use?

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Which, if any, of the following ever frustrates you about using a financial service provider’s website?

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All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,090 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26th and 27th February 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).