Biometrics in Digital Financial Services – An Overview, Analysis and Recommendations for Applications in the African Context

Nairobi, Monday 21st August 2017 –  Biometrics can play a key role in providing ease of use and convenience when used for authentication. However, it is time-consuming and expensive when used for identification.

This is according to a new report, entitled ‘Biometrics in Digital Financial Services: An Overview’, published today by the Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD Africa) in partnership with Consult Hyperion. The report indicates that in every 1 million users using fingerprint biometrics, 2.5% cannot be enrolled, while in every 1 million users using finger vein biometrics, 0.08% cannot be enrolled.

It highlights that, due to the cost and complexity of achieving very accurate biometrics at a population scale, financial services organisations are unlikely to rely heavily on biometrics for identification. They are more likely to rely on third party identification to meet customer due diligence requirements, in most applications.

Commenting on the report, Dick Clark, Principal Consultant with Consult Hyperion and author of the report said: “Biometrics are increasingly being used in DFS helping to provide a better user experience.  But it is important to understand the context in which they are used before deciding which biometric to use and how to use it.  This report aims to give readers an understanding of these key considerations for their own applications.”

The report recommends that, biometrics can be used alongside documentation evidence (where available) to help reduce multiple registrations.  Due to the number of failures on enrolment, fingerprints are not necessarily the best biometric to use for identification and other types should be investigated.

Click here to download the full report.