Importance of Biometrics for Financial Inclusion

By Stan Swearingen, Chief Executive Officer of IDEX Biometrics

Welcome to the 1st blog post in our series on Biometrics for Financial Inclusion. In this first post, Stan Swearingen, Chief Executive Officer at IDEX Biometrics explains the need of biometrics for financial inclusion.

The need for financial inclusion has accelerated with the individual’s need for easy accessibility to financial services. With the advent of tech-led consumerism, people are looking for simple ways to access and pay for goods and services, be it online or offline. Today, many of us prefer getting access to our financial assets using simple tools that assure high security, speed and reliability. However, the alarming rise in payment card fraudulence has led to the introduction of powerful measures such as biometrics.

Is Biometrics a game changer?

Biometrics has already brought about a multi-paradigm shift in identity verification that involves the recognition of physiological features such as a fingerprint. After its profound impact in a number of different environments, biometric technology is now gaining traction in the financial services industry. This will not only mitigate the use of highly-vulnerable four-digit PINs but also enhance customer experience and broaden access to financial services.

Biometrics to drive financial inclusion will change the game, especially for the unbanked adults living in both developing and developed countries. How? One of the most crucial reasons for individuals not setting up a bank account is lack of adequate government identification credentials. Although the governing bodies across the world have a big role to play in optimizing financial inclusion, it is ultimately the financial institutions that need to build the bridges and reach out to the ‘financially excluded’. Biometric integration can bring forth a quantum leap to meet their objectives and improve financial inclusion. The banks can boost their revenue while consumers will receive access and experience reliable and hassle-free payment transactions. Financial service providers can bank on this super-seamless payment system to make their services easily accessible and ultimately drive growth in developing nations.

How outcome-focused is fingerprint identification?

Biometrics is considered to be the most powerful tool so far to validate the credibility of an individual. While PINs are subject to theft, interception, shoulder surfing or even guessing, fingerprint identification is uniquely personal to the user and is almost impossible to replicate. It can also break barriers and provide financial services to those people who can’t read, write or have other forms of disabilities. What can be simpler than an impress of a finger instead of typing a PIN which you may or may not remember?

The future is already here

The collaboration of leading fingerprint sensor technology provider, IDEX Biometrics, along with top-of-the-line semiconductor card manufacturers and global payment providers implies that the future of improved financial inclusion is already here. High customer interest and active engagements in Asia, Africa and Europe have been highly encouraging for many financial institutions. It’s only a matter of time for the banks to adapt to these technological advancements and usher in improved quality of life for all individuals.

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