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Using a person’s face to authenticate is something humans have been doing for hundreds of thousands of years. New advances in technology have transformed the way we interact with each other, and companies in particular are capitalizing on these advances to verify identity. These old pillars of in-person and digital verification, like knowledge-based authentication (KBA), no longer provide adequate protection against fraud.
Why? Just as technology advances, so does fraud. Facial biometric technology has become the foundation businesses and consumers rely on to verify their identity. In this article, we’ll provide the top five reasons facial biometrics can help your business.
Related: The importance of having accurate facial recognition
1. It is very accurate and can stop fraud
Facial biometrics provide businesses with a high degree of confidence that the customer is a legitimate user and claims to be. The authentication process is streamlined in a way that passwords and traditional two-factor authentication (2FA) could never be – all users have to do is look at their device or other camera to prove their identity.
In addition to being very difficult for fraudsters to compromise due to the accuracy of facial recognition technology, leading algorithms also now produce near-zero bias, and perform much better than manual human review. In fact, in a recent study of facial recognition algorithms, NIST found that the technology could identify passengers on board an aircraft with a 99.5% accuracy rate. Additionally, this success rate (for the top facial recognition algorithms) was the same regardless of demographics, meaning race or gender had no significant impact on accuracy.
This level of detail can have a significant impact on a company’s ability to combat various types of fraud. For example, businesses can have much more confidence during account creation that the user is real through identity confirmation (as long as they match the selfie with liveness detection and a genuine ID issued by the government). It can also prevent account takeover fraud; SMS-based 2FA is notoriously easy to intercept, and modern algorithms are getting better and better at weeding out fancy 3D masks or similar facial spoofing hacks.
2. It’s easy for users
Facial biometrics are also easy for users to adopt. Customers are easily put off by clumsy authentication measures like KBA, especially if they are required multiple times during a transaction. It’s much easier to look at your camera and take a selfie instead of typing in a password or receiving an SMS.
Facial biometrics are also gaining acceptance among the general population. As privacy and accuracy concerns are addressed and corrected, this technology will continue to gain wide acceptance. While it’s better to use any biometric method than not to use it at all, there’s a reason all of our devices have switched to facial biometrics for unlocking: put simply, it’s easier for the user. Businesses can take advantage of this growing acceptance and make the user experience simpler and more secure in one step, leading to happier customers.
Related: How Biometric Solutions Are Shaping Workplace Security
3. It offers strong underwriting
More companies are adopting heavyweight underwriting practices to combat fraud and meet regulatory requirements. Friendly fraud is a high cost to modern businesses. Unfortunately, fraudsters may attempt to pretend that a legitimate purchase took place, a subscription was renewed, or an account change was made fraudulently and request a chargeback of their payment. Merchants bear the massive burden of this fraud when they cannot prove their identity, but facial recognition can significantly reduce its occurrence.
Much like having an eyewitness at the scene of the crime, facial biometrics provide businesses with a timestamped and verified image of a person making a transaction. When a person attempts to dispute a charge, that company has irrefutable proof that the person actually made the purchase. This is also important to meet regulatory requirements and even protect businesses from fines and lawsuits. It also provides strong evidence in the event of future audits of a customer’s account or purchase history.
4. It can reduce operational costs
Facial biometrics can reduce operational costs by removing the need for current labor-intensive security checks that are used to confirm a customer’s identity in the event of suspicious purchases, wire transfers or account changes. This includes texting or emailing a customer as well as even calling them to make sure they are the ones causing the event. These customer service costs can add up quickly, not to mention the fact that you increase the chances of your users experiencing poor customer service and expose your business to fraud via “man -in-the-middle”.
Additionally, the number of analysts needed to review, monitor and even rectify transactions has increased. The 2022 LexisNexis True Cost of Fraud study has now calculated that for every dollar in fraud losses, it actually costs the business $3.75 due to an increase in fraud volume, new methods digital payment systems and the high cost of replacing and redistributing goods.
Facial biometrics makes all of that unnecessary. Businesses can eliminate substantial operational costs and save their fraud teams time and resources simply by pairing a quick selfie with liveness detection. You can be sure with a high degree of certainty that the individual is who they say they are, and your team can stop wasting time analyzing transactions or unlocking accounts.
Related: Complete Guide to Understanding Facial Biometrics: Should You Be Afraid?
5. It is device independent
Finally, facial biometrics can be implemented regardless of customer devices as it is device agnostic. As long as a device has a camera, it can perform the functions needed for face authentication. There are no requirements for fingerprint scanners or microphones in noisy, busy areas; these cameras are small, inexpensive and can be installed at any kiosk where such transactions take place. Moreover, even cheap cameras can offer accurate facial recognition with modern algorithms. It also helps that almost everyone has a high quality camera in their pocket through their mobile device.
Every day, people use facial recognition to identify others. It was a strange century, where our digital shift quickly overtook technology to continue using faces. However, we are quickly overcoming this limitation and facial biometrics is a reliable gateway for companies to verify the identity of their customers. It’s time to take action, and companies that can fully implement facial authentication will reap the rewards.