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Mobile biometrics set to be game-changer in APAC

Telcos, financial institutions and other industry players risk losing market share if they do not keep up with the demand for security, convenience and mobility

Mobile biometrics has become more affordable and user-friendly in recent years, paving the way for more widespread adoption in digital customer on-boarding, border security and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives in enterprises.

Indeed, usage of biometric technology is set to grow in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, thanks to higher smartphone penetration rates and the increasing number of transactions on mobile devices equipped with biometric capabilities.

The technology is also well positioned to complement – and potentially replace – traditional access control methods, such as PINs and passwords, security questions and even the use of personal identities.

That has spurred some governments in the region to deploy biometrics in areas such as border control and citizen identification. The Indian government, in particular, has led the way with its national digital identity programme.

In the private sector, mobile biometrics can help to improve the user experience, as well as reduce IT costs and headcount needed to help customers retrieve PINs and passwords. The enhanced security posture arising from the use of biometrics will also protect systems from cyber attacks and data theft.

Against this backdrop, mobile network operators (MNOs), financial institutions and other industry players risk losing market share if they do not keep up with their customers’ demand for security, convenience and mobility.

Read more about biometrics in APAC

  • Banks in Singapore are rolling out biometric technology to improve customer services by speeding up the authentication process.
  • Identity is gaining greater prominence in the security debate in Australia as the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) takes the wraps off plans for a national identity system.
  • Strong data protection measures and private sector collaboration will be instrumental to the success of Singapore’s upcoming national digital identification system.
  • MasterCard has committed to guaranteeing that every one of its customers will have access to biometric authentication services by April 2019.

Banks and MNOs in the region, such as those in Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and China, have started to reap the benefits of incorporating biometrics into customer on-boarding processes. In doing so, they will be able to sign up customers more seamlessly and efficiently than before.

But for mobile biometrics to reach its full potential, government-led investments and industry partnerships are necessary to generate a pipeline of products that address gaps in the market, and to help biometric technology suppliers penetrate different markets at a faster pace and more cost-effectively.

Quah Mei Lee and Lareinna Roxanne Lee are from Frost & Sullivan, a global research and consulting organisation.

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