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Using a person’s face to authenticate themselves is something that humans have been doing for hundreds of thousands of years. New technological advancements have transformed how we interact with one another, and businesses especially are capitalizing on these advancements to verify identity. Those previous pillars of in-person and digital verification, like knowledge-based authentication (KBA), are no longer adequate protection against fraud.
Why? Just as technology advances, so does fraud. Facial biometric technology has become the foundation that businesses and consumers rely on to verify their identities. In this article, we will provide the top five reasons facial biometrics can help your business.
1. It’s highly accurate and can stop fraud
Facial biometrics offer businesses a high degree of confidence that the customer is a legitimate user and is who they claim to be. The authentication process is streamlined in a way that passwords and traditional two-factor authentication (2FA) never could be — all users need to do is look at their device or any other camera to prove their identity.
In addition to being highly difficult for fraudsters to compromise due to the accuracy of facial recognition technology, the leading algorithms also now produce near-zero bias, performing far better than manual human review. In fact, in one recent study of facial recognition algorithms, NIST found the technology could identify passengers boarding an airplane at an accuracy rate of 99.5%. Furthermore, this success rate (for the top facial recognition algorithms) was the same regardless of demographics, meaning race or gender had no meaningful impact on accuracy.
This level of accuracy can significantly impact a business’s ability to combat a variety of types of fraud. For example, companies can have much more confidence at account creation that the user is real through identity confirmation (as long as they match the selfie with liveness detection and an authentic government-issued ID). It can also prevent account takeover fraud; SMS-based 2FA is notoriously easy to intercept, and modern algorithms are getting ever-better at weeding out sophisticated 3D masks or similar facial spoofing hacks.
2. It’s easy for users
Facial biometrics are also effortless for users to adopt. Customers are easily turned off by clunky authentication measures like KBA, particularly if they’re required multiple times during a transaction. It’s much simpler to look at your camera and take a selfie instead of inputting a password or receiving a text message.
Facial biometrics is also gaining wider and wider acceptance among the general population. As concerns about privacy and accuracy are addressed and corrected, this technology will continue to gain widespread acceptance. While using any biometrics method is better than not using it at all, there is a reason why all of our devices have moved to facial biometrics for unlocking: Simply put, it’s easier for the user. Businesses can take advantage of this growing acceptance and make the user experience simpler and more secure with one step, leading to happier customers.
3. It provides strong underwriting
More and more businesses are adopting heavy underwriting practices to combat fraud and meet regulatory requirements. Friendly fraud is a high cost to modern businesses. Unfortunately, fraudsters may attempt to claim a legitimate purchase occurred, a subscription was renewed or an account change was made fraudulently and request a chargeback to their payment. Merchants overwhelmingly bear the burden of this fraud when they can’t prove identity, but facial recognition can reduce its occurrence significantly.
Just like having an eyewitness at the scene of the crime, facial biometrics provides businesses with a time-stamped, verified image of a person making a transaction. When someone attempts to dispute a charge, that company has irrefutable proof that the person did, in fact, make the purchase. This is also important for meeting regulatory requirements and even protecting businesses from fines and lawsuits. It also provides solid evidence in the case of any future audits on 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 for suspicious purchases, wire transfers or account changes. This includes texting or emailing a client as well as even calling them to ensure they are the ones behind the event. These customer service costs can quickly add up, not to mention the fact that you’re increasing the opportunities for your users to experience poor customer service as well as opening your business up to fraud via man-in-the-middle attacks.
In addition, the number of analysts needed to review, monitor and even rectify transactions has swelled. The 2022 LexisNexis True Cost of Fraud Study has now calculated that for every $1 in fraud losses, it actually costs the business $3.75 due to an increase in fraud volume, new digital payment methods and the high cost of replacing and redistributing goods.
Facial biometrics render all of this unnecessary. Companies can eliminate substantial operational costs and save time and resources for their fraud teams 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.
5. It’s device agnostic
Finally, facial biometrics can be implemented without concern for customer devices because it’s device agnostic. As long as a device has a camera, it can perform the necessary functions for facial authentication. There’s no requirement for fingerprint scanners or microphones in loud, busy areas; these cameras are small, inexpensive and can be installed at any kiosk where such transactions occur. Furthermore, even cheap cameras can offer accurate facial recognition with modern algorithms. It also helps that almost everyone carries a high-quality camera in their pockets via their mobile device.
People use facial recognition to identify others every day. It’s been a strange century, where our move to digital rapidly outpaced the technology to keep using faces. However, we’re quickly moving past that limitation, and facial biometrics are a reliable gateway for businesses to verify their customers’ identities. It’s time to make the move, and companies that are able to implement facial authentication fully will reap the rewards.