EXCLUSIVE – Apple introduced the iPhone X yesterday, and as pundits predicted, it does away with Touch ID in favor of Face ID, a biometric authentication system based on the user’s face.
The accuracy of Face ID is supposed to reduce false positives to 1 in a million (though the demo failed on stage yesterday) compared with 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID. Still, it can be fooled by identical twins, and someone authenticating your phone on your sleeping face, which seems to be a slight concern but discussions are raging across Twitter about pernicious siblings and roommates, as well as suspicious spouses.
In the world of commerce, Face ID means the people in line in front of you at the store will be taking selfies before waving their phone in front of the POS devices. Sorry about that.
Touch ID is widely used by banks for authentication, so this change will leave some scrambling. Many banks, however, have already put plans in place to move beyond touch. Gareth Gaston, executive vice president of omnichannel, told Bank Innovation that the bank has a sort of Swiss Army knife of authentication methods at the ready, so that deploying touch, face, and voice or whatever comes next, will be relatively straightforward.
Video banking also relies on pointing a camera at your face, and the growing comfort in using Face ID to log into your bank account would seem to lead naturally into video banking via mobile devices. Pioneer Federal Credit Union in Idaho recently began a video banking trial, and credit unions have indeed been among the leaders in the space.
Gene Pranger, CEO of Financial Town, which is the company behind the Pioneer video banking trial, noted that the video banking space has evolved a great deal over the past few years. Originally conceived for “consolidating tellers,” and replacing teller transactions, video banking has evolved with the growth of mobile and the breaking down of legacy barriers in the space. Video banking should now be thought of as an “A-to-Z complete process” able to meet all a customer’s banking needs, Pranger said. Video banking 2.0 even allows for documents to be scanned and shared via video. Pioneer is currently testing it on the web before bringing it to mobile, which will be its true home.
It has been said that smartphones are increasingly “all about the camera,” and Apple is clearly pushing this trend. Banking is a relationship business. Will video banking via mobile mean bankers will get to see customers’ faces again?