In PYMNTS’ most recent Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic series, based on surveys of thousands of consumers and businesses over the duration, nearly 34 percent of respondents said they are “very” or “extremely” likely to consider a firm’s digital offerings when deciding where to spend their money. Well over half are “somewhat” or “slightly” likely to choose based on digital.
That’s powerful, and it isn’t exactly a state secret. Digital transformation is no longer an aspirational idea for blog posts. While people’s fears of catching COVID-19 have lessened some, the contagion has habituated tens of millions to a digital way of life that, in many ways, is just plain easier. With thoroughly modern online living come new delights – and new threats.
The May/June edition of the AML/KYC Tracker®, done in collaboration with Trulioo, contains a wealth of information about the digitization of business – and, in particular, open banking. The surge in interest has challengers and other financial institutions (FIs) moving quickly to secure positions. A primary way of doing that is to establish trust and ascertain that one’s new customers are real.
For this reason, “Players in the space suggest that open banking could put know your customer (KYC) procedures on the fast track,” according to the May/June Tracker.
SCA, MFA, All the Way
Open banking has clearly benefited from the pandemic, in that many “fence-sitters” and curious onlookers decided in a COVID minute that branch banking isn’t for them anymore.
Meanwhile, the open banking ecosystem is healthy and growing – but security is a paramount concern during this time of massive transitions. “Doing data right” is now critically important.
“While open banking is set to revolutionize the way financial institutions operate, data privacy will continue to play a prominent role, ensuring that these organizations are only accessing and collecting data that is necessary to deliver a product or service,” Zac Cohen, chief operating officer at Trulioo, told PYMNTS. “This includes identity verification companies, which should only collect the information needed to provide an effective identity verification/onboarding experience and consider carefully what data, if any, is retained afterward.”
Increasingly, that work is being performed by dynamic global identity verification platforms that use strong consumer authentication (SCA) and/or multi-factor authentication (MFA) to harden the onboarding process against an army of cyberthieves exploiting pandemic disorder.
“The technology industry has already recognized MFA’s value,” the Tracker states, with Alex Weinert, group program manager for identity security and protection at Microsoft, saying in August 2019 that the company’s studies suggest accounts verified via MFA are 99.9 percent ‘less likely to be compromised.’ Robust authentication measures make it harder for criminals to gain access to accounts using stolen details, but FIs should also take measures to reduce the likelihood that bad actors ever gather individuals’ information in the first place."
Securing That Which Is ‘Open’
Expectations among the many proponents of open banking are that it will be as safe, secure and protective of their customers’ accounts and data as any austere financial institution ever was. They also expect open banking to be better in most other ways, too. No pressure.
“The financial sector is moving toward open banking as customers’ needs for convenient, robust digital services grow,” the Tracker states.
“FIs cannot remain competitive by sitting out on this movement, but will also lose customers that they cannot keep safe. Adopting MFA and helping customers detect phishing scams can go a long way toward enabling FIs to offer convenient open banking without adding greater risks.”