Fingerprint Technology Expanding In African Mobile Banking

Fingerprint Technology Expanding In African Mobile Banking

London-based bank Standard Chartered plans this year to introduce biometric technology to customers in eight African countries so they can use fingerprints to access their mobile money — a process known as touch login — versus usernames and passwords.

The roll-out is expected to reach 5 million people in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The bank claims it will be a first in most markets with the largest deployment of fingerprint biometric technology by any international bank, Fin Tech Innovation reported.

Pending regulatory approval, touch login will launch by the end of 2016 in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is already operational in Singapore, United Arab Emirates and India. It is also due to launch in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Pakistan.

Fingerprint login already exists in South Africa

South Africa’s Standard Bank in May 2015 offered its smartphone users the option of using fingerprint readers to log on to their mobile banking apps.

The Payment Association of South Africa developed a standard for biometric interoperability in partnership with MasterCard and Visa.

This will allow biometrics to be used on payment cards in anticipation of an industry-wide roll-out of fingerprint banking, FinExtra reported in 2015.

According to MasterCard, 65 percent of South Africans who participated in a research study said they are interested in using biometrics to authenticate payments rather than traditional pin numbers.

“Biometrics have been around for many years, but they have never been adopted in the payment space,” said Walter Volker, CEO of the Payment Association of South Africa. The standard is an “industry-first,” Volker said.

Kenya has it too

Guaranty Trust Bank Kenya said in May that it has has upgraded its mobile app to allow customers to log on to their accounts using fingerprint recognition, Business Daily reported.

So does Benin

In 2012, Atlanta-based biometric software maker M2SYSTechnology announced that its software was being used by ASMAB, the largest micro-credit bank in Benin, West Africa, to provide bank customers with fingerprint biometrics.

So does Nigeria

Diamond Bank announced the launch of a fingerprint recognition feature on its Diamond mobile app, ITNewsAfrica reported in February, 2015.

Standard Chartered said its touch login will be available on iOS and Android devices.

The bank also plans to launch voice biometric technology for phone banking services in India and U.A.E. by the end of 2016. More markets will follow, MIS-Asia reported.

Earlier this year, Standard Chartered announced it was bringing its mobile and online banking platform to eight African countries, Banking Tech reported. The bank said it planned to invest $3 billion in strengthening its tech, retail, private banking and wealth management operations.

Standard Chartered’s voice biometric technology relies on the physical and behavioral characteristics of clients’ voices. Voices are as unique as fingerprints due to the size and shape of one’s vocal tract, mouth and teeth, as well as accent and speaking rhythm, according to Fin Tech Innovation.

When customers call the bank, their identities will be authenticated through voice prints.

“Fingerprint and voice biometric technologies give our clients more convenience and security when they want to access their bank balances, cards and investments, wherever they are and whenever they want,” said Karen Fawcett, Standard Chartered’s CEO of retail banking.