Beat The Competition with Continuous Authentication

March 12, 2018

The writing is on the wall: customers are increasingly transacting electronically, and indeed transacting with mobile phones. A 2017 survey by the Mobile Ecosystem Forum found that 61% of respondents now use their mobile devices for banking. UX at mobile points of interaction will either drive business – or cause customers to drop off.

It is self-evident that it is the digital-savvy, social-media leaning generation that drives the adoption of mobile banking – groups variously categorized as millennials or Generation Z. Statistics support this conclusion, as smartphone ownership is nearly universal (94%) within the 18-29 age group. These are banks’ current and future customers, underlining that the importance of getting mobile digital service provision and the associated user experience right is growing.


How Continuous Authentication Boosts the UX Experience

UX consists of a number of components, including factors such as visual design and information architecture, but perhaps the most important component of UX is the sheer usability of an application. When it comes down to authenticating users, banks can be confronted with a tricky conundrum: do we minimize the risk of fraud at the cost of usability?

A 2017 Mobile Ecosystems Forum study highlighted that 58% of smartphone users have abandoned a mobile transaction before finalizing checkout, so the UX question is not one to take lightly. Continuous authentication can be a great help: instead of relying on a single and sometimes tedious authentication step, continuous authentication is a dynamic verification method that continuously verifies the presence of an authorized user throughout the app session. It provides a huge step up in UX satisfaction by removing the friction usually associated with authenticating a user.

Read More: Fighting Mobile Banking Fraud with Continuous Authentication


Continuous Authentication is A Boon to User Experience

  • A Seamless Second Factor
Mobile banking apps need to present an authentication hurdle whenever a transaction is initiated, which can be frustrating for users even if this involves merely entering a password. Continuous authentication does away with this step by authenticating a user purely by the fact that they are using the device. The mere fact that the user is using a mobile device leads to authentication, removing the need for the banking app to request a password or fingerprint, etc. This seamlessness is what defines a good user experience.
  • Smooth Session
In-app, users are at times confronted with repeated authentication requests. This could be because the session has been idle, when the user is traveling abroad or due to a specific transaction requiring step-up authentication. These types of activities will often trigger false positive transaction denials further frustrating the legitimate user. Continuous authentication prevents the need for this step-up authentication without interruptions. For banking customers the mere act of making a transaction can be almost nerve-wracking. Putting further UX hurdles in the way by means of authentication steps is thus undesirable, and continuous authentication removes the need to do so.
  • Enhanced Usability
Implementing continuous authentication means adding a trust layer that mitigates fraudulent attacks like account takeover or session hijacking, enables customers to engage in riskier transactions. Mobile banking applications that are more feature-rich, by offering users instant access to a broader set of features and functions, will stand a better chance of winning customers.

For most people banking transactions are a necessary evil rather than a pleasure so it’s easy to see why convenient, easy to use mobile banking apps will find a following amongst customers. At the same time, fraud is of prime concern for banks, with Al Pascual, Javelin Strategy & Research SVP, saying that:

"The growing prevalence of mobile banking, mobile commerce, and financial activities such as person-to-person payments offers fraudsters rich opportunities for phishing login and payment credentials."

Continuous authentication provides a means to square the circle by both eliminating user friction and stepping up fraud prevention.

Read More: Strengthening Mobile Payments

Continuous Authentication Is the Means to Get Ahead

As evidenced by the number of clunky mobile banking apps on the market, the mobile banking user experience is not universally smooth. This presents an opportunity for banks to get ahead of the competition. A bank that can provide a positive UX throughout their mobile banking efforts by implementing continuous authentication stands a better chance of attracting younger users. Attract these users now and banks could look forward to lifelong clients.

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