Q + A  Mario Maawad Marcos, Digital Security Director at CaixaBank

 How soon will we see the use of biometrics in banking?

CaixaBank is currently running several pilots with selected customers. Generally people working in the security sector are not keen on biometrics  – but we must now acknowledge that biometric technology is a viable solution, as it offers a much higher level of security than existing technologies, like the simple password.

fotoMario2For the end-user, the customer, biometric technology is new and extremely simple, which is why it is crucial to push for its implementation and use. Our competitors, especially market newcomers such as mobile wallet providers like PayPal are already researching biometrics, despite the fact that it is not yet commercially available.

But switching to biometrics is not simply a question of technology; we also need to study issues of usability, customer acceptance and implementation.

What is necessary for its successful implementation?

The technological aspects of biometrics are already resolved – the key question is how to implement it and best use the technology from the customer’s point of view. Questions on acceptance and user experience are significant but other aspects such as compliance with privacy law are essential.

In terms of its overall security the successful implementation of biometric technology will depend on exactly how it is implemented and more particularly, a combination of two factors for authentication. The crucial point about Natural Security Alliance’s approach is the fact that the alliance is not just promoting a specific technology but providing a standard, shared by all members.

Why is strong authentication essential and how will it evolve?

We need to go beyond the standard definition of strong authentication as “something we know, we have, we are” to include new dimensions.

User experience is one such example. What contributed to the successful mass adoption of products and services from new incomers (Apple, Amazon…) was the fact that they made gestures and transactions easier and simpler. To succeed they had to reinvent the concept of strong authentication by including fraud assessment and user experience.

Banks are well positioned to ensure that issues like fraud assessment are fully addressed. They have extensive experience in customer behaviour and ensure that Know Your Customer systems are in place. Banks will have to change their approach to provide a high level of security while offering a universal and simple customer experience.