Why Banks and Telecoms Need to Rigorously Embrace Innovative Identity Technologies

Emergent trends in biometric data, persistent identity, blockchain technology, and security, have banks and telecom companies on their toes when it comes to effectively using identity validation while being mindful of customers’ needs. In a panel discussion at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week, leaders and advocates for new identity technologies discussed the implications for the financial services and telecom industries.

Mobile World Congress 2017: Why Banks and Telecoms Need to Rigorously Embrace Innovative Identity Technologies
The Future of Identity panel featured Xavier Codo (CEO at ICAR), Fernando García-Quismondo (Group Technology at Grupo Santander), Xavier Anglada (CEO of International Operations at Cash Credit Group), Josep Grau (Digital Innovation Manager at Caixa Bank) and Oscar Mancebo Ortiz (Head of Mobile Connect at Telefonica Group Level).

There is currently no mechanism to ensure individuals have one digital identifier, and so the challenge now is how to connect all the content available to represent an individual in the digital world. Banks and telecoms are obsessed with protecting the data security of individuals, but at the same time, are tired of being hemmed in by regulatory protocols. ‘We need to over-communicate and explain to them that we need to do things radically different now. We need to share information about an individual. It’s critical’, said Xavier Anglada, CEO of International Operations at Cash Credit Group. Cash Credit is a fast-growing FinTech institution with an innovative, analytics-based credit scoring system that uses mobile operators’ big data. By partnering with telecoms, media players, and payment platforms, they offer subscribers a range of economic and financial credit products.

Banks and telecoms have to leverage different data sources to create links between them. While establishing an ecosystem for the sharing of data while balancing customers’ rights to privacy, the sharing of information reduces onboarding costs and creates a frictionless process. Enterprises need to change the way they build services and place the user at the centre. Training customers to use new technology is extremely important, plus internal onboarding and change management within.

Over time, and highly dependent on context, the perception of different biometrics activities can change. For example, getting your fingerprints done at the airport for security purposes might be perceived as negative and intrusive, whereas using the fingerprint identifier on your iPhone may be novel and cool. In the end, if customers find value in the technology they’ll adopt it. Banks have to give the customers the power, and customers have a great responsibility that is implied as well. They have control over their data, and enterprises need to make it simple and easy, plus minimize their number of interactions.

By using the features that blockchain offers, such as a shared user base that is encrypted, banks still need to effectively manage liability issues. For example, who is in responsible for security intrusions and mistakes that occur? What are the new protocols and procedures? The new technology is absolutely disruptive, and revolutionary, but it won’t work in a vacuum alone. It requires more complex solutions and systems in place, as soon as possible.

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