Face Recognition solution for mobile banking applicationSiam Commercial Bank
Know Your Customer uses innovative biometric identification via mobile banking app to let customers open an account.
- Financial Services
- Asia Pacific
- Public Safety
The Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) provides a leading online banking platform for Thailand's dynamic and increasingly digitized financial industry.
SCB wanted to be the first bank in the region to let customers open an account through its SCB EASY mobile banking application, eliminating the need to visit a physical branch. NEC provided SCB with its secure face recognition software to achieve this.
Christian Roland, Head of Digital Transformation and Agile Enablement at SCB, explains the impact of NEC's face recognition technology: 'With this new technology, customer choice is improving but, at the same time, we also have a much higher level of safety and security. The face recognition software helps us to make customers completely independent of branch opening hours.'
Providing user-first and secure banking solutions
The Thai population is highly digital and mobile savvy with users spending 'eight to nine hours a day' on their mobile phones, according to Roland.
Yet, online banking solutions in the region were not addressing the major pain points for customers by providing digital alternatives to many branch-based activities, also known as Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.
SCB wanted to address this discrepancy, as Roland explains: 'In the past, we have always asked customers to come into the branch to open accounts, to change their customer particulars, to buy a product. Our aspiration as a digital bank is to make those things independent of the branch.'
SCB also needed to ensure the security of its face recognition solution in two key areas. First, the identification process must provide complete reassurance of a person's identity, which is an issue banks in the region were struggling with as stolen or fraudulent ID cards were often used in branch to open accounts. Second, data security was paramount to ensure any biometric information is not stolen or modified during the identification process.
Deployed Face Recognition to overcome fraud and improve the customer experience
To utilize this solution and open an account, a customer downloads the SCB EASY banking application and scans an official form of identification, such as their passport or national ID card. The customer is then prompted to take selfies using their mobile phone camera.
Masanori Tatsuki, Executive Manager of the Public Safety Solution Department at NEC, explains how these images and information are used: 'We analyze their face and extract the facial features, then match the feature points with the database. In order to identify the person who is applying for the new account, we match his or her face with the picture in an official document, like a passport.'
The NEC face recognition technology also provides 'a high degree of precision under very different conditions and can detect faces in different lighting conditions and angles, making it easy for customers to use, according to Roland.
The software also recognizes the liveness of an image, as opposed to a still, to prevent fraud. This liveness feature is 'important', according to Roland, 'because it's easy to copy a picture or show a picture and try to trick the system'.
NEC's face recognition technology is already used in a range of other industries, including for immigration checks at the world's airports. Roland explains that this solid reputation in other areas 'gave us confidence' as SCB was providing a first-to-market solution to the Thai banking industry.
NEC was also 'a very strong partner' across the lifecycle of the project, according to Roland, who adds: 'NEC and the team supported us very heavily on this journey'. In particular, NEC helped SCB meet the very tough deadlines to get this solution to market and worked with its regulator, the Bank of Thailand, to get approval.
The accuracy of the face recognition together with the anti-spoofing technology prevents data fraud with stolen identities, impressing the regulator. An additional layer of security is to ensure the communication between the customer's mobile and the bank cannot be intercepted. Tatsuki explains, 'NEC has provided end-to-end encryption technology throughout the transaction between mobile and back-end servers.' This prevents sensitive data being stolen or modified during the process.
As a result, SCB has a futureproofed and highly secure solution that will give them a competitive edge in the years ahead. Tatsuki explains: 'SCB is one of the leading commercial banks in Thailand. They require effective and advanced technologies in their mobile banking application that can generate new customer experiences and guarantee their future competitiveness. Our face recognition technology can be utilized for both such purposes.'
This new electronic KYC procedure should not be limited to the realms of commercial banking, according to Tatsuki, who believes it 'should be everywhere' and could easily be extended into other financial areas including retail, insurance and rental banking. Roland concurs and adds: 'we can recommend the solution to other institutions.'
A new Fintech solution with real potential for the world's banking industry
Since its launch in March 2018, there are now approximately nine million customers on the SCB EASY mobile banking application with 'very high regular usage', according to Roland. This is the first time that face recognition has been used for mobile banking in Thailand and he believes it offers a highly streamlined and secure experience for SCB's customers.
'For a lot of things, paying a bill, getting information, buying a mutual fund, getting a credit card, in the past people had to meet one of our branch staff and go to a branch, and those things can now be done with their fingertips,' according to Roland.
Digital transactions are also said to be up to 95% cheaper to perform compared to in-person transactions but the provision of cost savings for customers is not the only driver for this innovative solution, as Roland explains: 'It was a genuine desire to make customers' lives easier and address pain points.'
Giving customers the ability to open accounts online is 'just the start', according to Roland, who adds: 'We're exploring other things on how biometric technology can be used to make customers' lives easier in the digital world and in the physical world.'
Face Recognition Transforms Thailand's Mobile Banking Sector [2:58]
Siam Commercial Bank
(OCT 3, 2019)