Saving Face?

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That’s just your device, not us.

Facial recognition has been a hot topic since Apple’s recent announcement of the iPhone X. At ATB, we’ve been working with facial recognition—and other biometric tokens—to explore the various contexts in which they can offer truly effective and efficient solutions for our customers. 

As with any sort of biometric identification, one of the first questions we hear consistently is about whether or not someone could “steal” your face and use a photo to trick the system and walk away with all the money in your bank account. The quick answer is no, they couldn’t, for a few different reasons. A flat image can’t just stand in for a real human face, because facial recognition works by projecting a bitmap onto a user’s face to detect various ridges and features. It also bounces random light—invisible to the human eye—off its subject to detect things like head movement and identify edges on a photo or phone screen that may be present. The only exception is identical twins, so if you’ve got a sibling rivalry going on, you’re going to want to take extra precautions.

In addition to the technology being virtually impossible to fool, it’s important to remember that your biometric tokens are saved on your smartphone or other mobile device—and not in some random third party database. So in order for someone to steal your money using facial recognition, for example, they would need to have your account info, your device, and your biometrics. So in other words, you’re probably much more likely to get eaten by a shark.

When we did our biometric testing, we found that touch ID provided the most frictionless experience, following by facial recognition and voice ID. 67% of the people we asked said they would use touch ID, with only 14% saying they would use facial recognition, but it will be very interesting to see how these numbers shift and change the more smartphones and devices start to utilize facial recognition and the more it becomes a part of everyday life. 

We’ve already been testing the use of cameras equipped with facial recognition in some our branches, to explore how we could make our customers’ experiences even smoother. It’s just as much work to pull out your debit card as it is to pull out your smartphone to scan your fingerprint—these cameras could eliminate the need for either. We ultimately would like to be able to recognize customers as they walk into any of our branches so we can have their account info queued up and we’re ready to help the moment they approach our desk. 

We’ll also be supporting facial recognition on our mobile banking app, which, surprisingly, is an incredibly quick and easy system to integrate. On our end, it’s essentially a flip of a switch before we’re ready to accept facial recognition. The actual wait, of course, will be for all smartphones to integrate facial recognition technology. In the meantime, we’ll soon be ready for anyone already using it. We’re really excited to see what adoption rates and variety of uses will be like moving forward, and we’re ready to support, learn, and iterate our own technologies and processes to develop the best solutions possible to make ATB customers’ lives better.

We're always looking for top talent to work on innovative projects just like this one. Explore our open opportunities here.

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