NatWest behavioural biometric tech 'set to replace passwords'

NatWest is developing behavioural biometrics technology which it claims could replace banking passwords.

Next year, an additional form of authentication will be required for some transactions when Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) comes into force, however the bank's new technology - which has been customised in partnership with Visa for the purpose of increased transaction security - could replace passwords and helps to make payments more secure.

SCA is part of the Europe-wide second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) regulation, which adds an extra layer of security designed to prevent payment fraud and check that it is the cardholder making the payment.

Behavioural biometrics works by analysing the unique ways a customer interacts with their device when making an online purchase. The technology uses this information to confirm who is making the purchase and does not access or share any private data held on a device. Working in the background of a transaction, it should deliver a seamless experience for customers while ensuring a high level of security.

NatWest's development makes it the first bank to test the technology specifically for the purpose of SCA compliance.

Georgina Bulkeley, NatWest director of strategy and innovation, said: “We continue to explore biometrics and how they can be used to make payments easier and simpler for our customers - the success of a pilot of this new technology demonstrates our ongoing commitment to developing innovative ways of enhancing customer experience while prioritising security.”

Jeni Mundy, managing director for the UK and Ireland at Visa, added: “Behavioural biometrics has already been deployed successfully for the purpose of fraud prevention, and now, following work between regulators and industry partners including Visa, has been approved as a second layer of security to be used alongside one-time passcodes in the context of SCA.”

Visa will be offering commercially available behavioural biometric technology to its clients via VCAS, its end-to-end authentication solution.

The behavioural biometric technology follows on from NatWest’s successful pilots of biometric fingerprint technology with debit and credit cards, which allowed payments of up to £100 to be verified using a fingerprint instead of PIN. The bank was the first in the UK to pilot the technology and is looking to develop it further this year.

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