Daily usage by UK consumers of mobile banking applications has doubled in the last 12 months to 18.6 million transactions, as 12.4 million people have downloaded such applications so far, according to The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) this week.
This stratospheric increase in using smart devices for personal banking has not only diverted common, high volume queries from the contact centre and branches, but also it has significantly changed the way banks and financial services organisations authenticate customers’ identities.
As Anthony Browne, Chief Executive of the BBA quite rightly pointed out – banks are not just innovating for themselves, in fact, despite bad press surrounding recent downtime for some of the major banks, they’re leading lights when it comes to customer experience. One of the major sticking points for consumers when it comes to financial services is the historical rigmarole of authentication and verification.
Security measures have come a long way since asking for a date of birth, address and customer account number; in order to prevent the growing risk of fraud, banks have consistently innovated to make personal banking a much more secure process. Fraud will continue to be a growing issue, especially since debit and credit card fraud rose 35 per cent in 2013, despite overall levels reducing 11 per cent.
Chip & PIN and associated devices, two-, three- or even four-factor authentication methods, and more ‘futuristic’ tools like voice biometrics have been adopted to find less costly, quicker and more convenient ways to check a person’s identity.
But while in the past it was an education to demonstrate to the public that this was necessary to ensure that their accounts weren’t cleaned out or services applied fraudulently in their name, modern consumers are much more accepting of security processes.
Smartphone and tablet apps have facilitated a quicker way to get your transaction completed, or query resolved, at less cost to the consumer and organisation, and combined with faster payments technology, this can all be done within minutes, rather than days.
In order to strike that balance between technology maturity and consumer acceptance of providers demanding additional layers of security, the increase in automation has been key. This is both in terms of being much, much more difficult to compromise, unobtrusive, and requires less effort on the customer’s part.
There have been developments in interactive voice response (IVR) using voice biometrics, and banks have even been trialling ‘SIM-swap’ detection methods, which, when combined with location-based services, identifies whether the SIM card in the smart phone actually belongs to the customer.
Going one step further, the notion of ‘omni-channel’ – that is, the provision of a consistent service across multiple channels with no breaks in the conversation – means that a customer could text a financial services provider, get instant automated responses, move onto a secure web link to verify their identity, before using voice biometrics as a second factor, then speaking to a contact centre advisor without ever having left the conversation, or repeating any information.
Everyone is naturally wary of how their hard-earned money is being looked after, and so acceptance of security is not as difficult as it once was. But it is about making it easy for people to do business with you, by peeling back the layers of security and using more covert levels.