Matching finance with biometrics

October 2015 Financial (Industry), Access Control & Identity Management

Financial institutions in South Africa today offer a number of varied services from financial planning to selling electronic devices, however the core purpose still remains the same, to accept deposits and channel it into lending and investment activities. In order to ensure the continuity of these core activities, trust, security and identity are essential. As the world rapidly advances in technology, it is paramount that financial institutions advance their practices in order to meet the ever-changing needs of customers.

Customers are in a constant search for convenience and that is where technology in general and biometrics in particular can play a pertinent role.

Financial institutions have a duty to protect their customers, employees and assets at all levels of contact. At the branch level, an integrated and adapted access control system should be in place to ensure both staff and customers’ peace of mind when interacting within the building.

The very same access control system can be used for time and attendance purposes. The use of biometrics ideally ensures only authorised personnel gain access to specific zones. When speaking about biometrics, fingerprint is usually the first method which comes to mind and it is most widely accepted form, but there are others available, such as facial recognition for instance.

Once in a financial institution branch building, it is necessary that customers can be positively identified before an account can be opened or any confidential information be shared with them. This is a legal requirement in South Africa and in many other places in the world referred to as FICA and/or KYC (Know-Your-Customer). More Home Affairs departments world-wide authorise com­mercial entities to access their database in order to verify a customer’s identity.

Financial institutions can take advantage of this technology by simply integrating specific fingerprint readers into their existing solution. At the desk level, the customer can simply present his fingerprint to be identified and thus authorise the transaction as opposed to the traditional hand signature.

Now this transaction authorisation can also be introduced at employee level and be used for PC login or for transaction authorisation where a supervisor would have to make use of a biometric reader in order to validate the request of a colleague. This allows for proper and irrefutable audit trail which is so important in the financial world.

Outside of the branch, everywhere positive identification is required, biometrics can be used for security and convenience.

For more information contact Morpho South Africa, +27 (0)11 286 5800, [email protected],


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