How to survive in a contactless biometrics world

The COVID-19 pandemic is a dramatic shock to our way of life – but it has also the potential to completely change the way we do things over the long-term.

One clear example is that of biometric identity verification. For years, it’s been commonplace for companies — whether they are in the banking sector, telecoms or retail — to use the likes of fingerprint scanners to verify customers.

Even the likes of universities and gyms have come to rely on fingerprint scanners to grant access to their facilities.

However, considering that COVID-19 could live up to several hours on a surface, many South Africans will refuse to use these devices during this time and possibly even after this pandemic passes.

If you’re a business or organisation that relies on verifying customers during this challenging time, here are three reasons why now is a good time to consider going contactless.

SA has the right technology 

In South Africa, there are technology solutions that exist to verify customers without human contact.

Because of our country’s challenges with its large landmass and problems with identity fraud, local companies have developed hi-tech solutions fit for our environment.

Locally-made apps, such as WhoYou, turn smartphone cameras into advanced ID fingerprint and facial scanners.

This particular app carries out biometric verification by keeping a safe distance and simply taking a photo of a person’s two thumbprints or face using a smartphone’s camera.

This biometric image data is then electronically verified against the National Population Register (NPR), which is maintained and managed by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

One Time Verification 

Another local innovation set to be rolled out across South Africa soon is something that we as WhoYou have developed called ‘One Time Verification’ or OTV.

This is an alternative technology solution to that of One Time PINS (OTPs). Whereas OTPs rely on sending a customer a PIN code contained in an text message, OTV works by sending a customer a web link that opens up a biometrics verification application.

This web application then uses a customer’s phone camera to either take a photo of a fingerprint or a face. The data is then verified once against the likes of the National Population Register, making the onboarding experience more convenient for the user while safeguarding your business from identity fraud.

This kind of technology also works well in the current situation of social distancing and self-isolation.

Combatting identity fraud over the long-term

Finally, apart from being useful during the COVID-19 pandemic, these technology solutions have more long-term, sustainable features that are aimed at curbing the problem of identity fraud.

According to statistics released by the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) late last year, the impersonation by fraudsters using real IDs and names increased by 99% from 2018 to 2019.

Identity fraud is a problem that is not going away in South Africa anytime soon. Implementing a contactless biometric solution can shore up your security and limit losses for the long-term.

In closing, it’s clear to see that more people than ever before will become aware of contactless biometrics and that this is an opportunity for organisations to improve their systems for the current challenging period as well as the future.

If you’d like to find out more, get in touch with us by clicking here.

Article written by Craig Hills, Business Development Director at WhoYou