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Biometric verification explained

Biometric verification explained

Sep 5, 2023
Checkout.com

Whether you’re accepting payments, onboarding customers, or allowing your customers to log into an online dashboard, identity verification is a crucial process.

Traditionally, though, it’s been one plagued by human error; one subject to lost passwords, forgotten PINs, and lengthy, snail-like wait times.

Until, that was, biometric verification came along.

But what is biometric verification, and how does it work? Where is it used, why is it important for your business, and – most importantly – how can you use it to streamline and simplify your organization’s identity verification processes? 

Let’s take a look.

What is biometric verification?

Biometric verification uses an individual’s unique physical characteristics – including their face, fingerprints, and voice – to verify their identity and confirm that it’s really them attempting to log in, make a payment, sign up to a service, or apply for a credit line.

Unlike traditional methods of authentication, biometric verification relies on distinct, intrinsic traits. These are difficult to replicate and – unlike PINs and passwords – impossible to forget. 

This makes biometric verification more reliable and efficient than its predecessors – and it’s already streamlining and securing how customers all over the world sign up and pay.

How does biometric verification work?

To help you understand how biometric verification works, we’ve summarized the process’s key tenets below. For a more detailed deep-dive into the topic through the lens of paying online, though, we recommend exploring our full guide to biometric payments.

Fingerprint scanning

Fingerprint scanning leverages the distinct ridges and valleys on a customer’s fingertip to create a biometric template unique to them – then use this pattern to verify their identity.

Facial verification

Facial verification – now a standard feature of many of the latest smartphones – uses infrared light to scan a customer’s face, pinpointing thousands of dots to confirm their identity.

Voice recognition

Voice recognition harnesses a type of machine learning to evaluate the unique patterns of a customer’s voice – including how fast they talk, and their accent – to authenticate their identity.

This form of biometric verification dovetails neatly with the emergence of voice commerce – a way for customers to browse and pay for goods and services online through simply speaking into their smart devices.

Where is biometric verification used?

With biometric verification defined, let’s look at how it’s used every day to enable slicker, safer, and more seamless identity authentication.

Mobile authentication

Biometric verification enables the instant authentication of a customer’s mobile device – confirming, in essence, that it’s their device, and that it’s them who is using it.

This comes particularly in handy when you’re requiring a customer to authenticate themselves or their documents remotely – rather than face-to-face. It’s also useful when you offer your customers the ability to use their smartphone to pay online.

Rather than having to enter their name, a 16-digit card number, an expiry date, and a CVV, a customer can simply use a digital wallet to access a saved card – then verify the purchase with their fingerprint or facial profile.

Online banking

Most online banking providers enable customers to log into their accounts using fingerprint or facial recognition-enabled devices. 

Whereas once, a customer would have to remember a complicated combination of username, password, and other memorable information, they can now simply open up an app on their smartphone, instantly biometrically verify their identity, and access their accounts.

When a customer first signs up, many banks also ask them to set up voice recognition by repeating an assortment of phrases into their device. With that in place, customers can benefit from an extra layer of security, and – should they end up locked out of their account and needing to verify their identity over the phone – can do so in an instant.

Remote identity verification

Online payments aren’t the only process that requires you to remotely verify your customer’s identity. You may also be requesting them to:

  • Sign a document
  • Complete a hiring process
  • Finish setting up their marketplace seller or gaming account
  • Apply for financial products and services

In all these cases, you’ll need to verify the individual’s identity to comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations. A subset of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) legislation, KYC requires you to offset the potential risk of providing services to unknown customers – and help fight terrorism, money-laundering, and fraud – by verifying them thoroughly.

Biometric verification helps smooth and speed up this process – reducing your administrative workload, keeping you compliant, and ensuring your business avoids hefty fines.

Why biometric verification is important for your business

In 2023, biometric verification isn’t simply a ‘nice to have’ for your business – it’s a must have.

Biometric verification is:

  • Secure: because biometric traits are unique and difficult to replicate, they insure you against unauthorized access, identity fraud, and a range of other illicit activities – protecting sensitive business and cardholder data, and financial transactions.
  • Convenient: biometric verification happens in moments – enabling quicker payments, providing a better customer experience, and reducing friction at the checkout.
  • Accurate: powered by AI and machine learning, biometric verification eliminates the element of human error in the customer authentication process – reducing the likelihood of costly mistakes and fines.
  • Efficient: by streamlining processes that require user authentication (such as employee attendance tracking and secure document or location access) biometrics can save companies time and money from an operational perspective.
  • Cost-effective: biometric verification reduces the need for password resets, support calls related to forgotten passwords, and investigations into security breaches – which, over time, add up to big cost savings.

Use biometric verification with Checkout.com

Here at Checkout.com, we’re a one-stop shop for all your identity verification needs.

Our Identity Verification product allows to check your customer’s authenticity – including their documents, proof of liveness, and that the documents and their holder correspond – through a slick, seamless digital flow.

Whether you’re looking to onboard a new customer or process an application for a credit line or service, we’ll help you maximize conversions – without sacrificing reliability.

With our Identity Verification solution, you’ll boost trust in your business’s processes and brand. Meet your regulatory compliance obligations. And mitigate the reputational and financial costs of fraud on your business by up to 50%.

Want to know more about the biometric verification solution already authenticating a growing library of over 3,000 government-issued IDs and documents – across 195 countries? About how you can clear results within seconds, combine our automated solution with human review options, and benefit from one of the highest levels of security in Europe?

Get in touch with our team today. We’ll start a no-strings conversation about what Checkout.com’s identity verification service can do for your business – and how it can change the way you authenticate your customers.

Unlock your payments potential today

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September 5, 2023 12:12
September 5, 2023 12:12