The power of omnichannel authentication

Digital transformation Banking
Omnichannel authentication
The way we bank has changed completely. Advances in technology, and our increasing familiarity with it, mean that we now expect personalized services whenever, wherever, and however we choose to interact. This compels financial institutions (FIs) to change their focus from what they offer to how they make their offerings available. It’s about giving consumers what they want: the opportunity to interact with their bank across multiple channels – be it at a branch, online or the call center – in as seamless and secure a way as possible.

So far, omnichannel has simply meant having multiple channels to the customer, but this is no longer a competitive advantage in itself. True omnichannel service delivery means more than just more ways to do the same things. “It’s about a thoughtfully designed, seamless and consistent interaction between customers and their financial institutions, across multiple channels, with each channel complementing the others,” says Frans Labuschagne, Entersekt’s UK and Ireland country manager.

Security across channels

A frequent stumbling block for FIs in this transformation to a cross-channel service offering is the disconnect between the services available on each channel and the different authentication type each channel requires. Not only do these inconsistencies detract from a customer’s overall experience, they can also create confusion about the relative security of each channel, as customers debate the merits of biometrics versus static passwords, for example.

The dilemma for FIs, then, is how to give consumers the convenience they want, through the channels they prefer, while still protecting them from fraud and providing a consistent user experience.

Omnichannel authentication for a smooth customer journey

The mobile device – something consumers always have with them – could provide the unifying answer by leveraging it as the possession factor in multi-factor authentication.

Entersekt’s omnichannel authentication solution has used this approach to help ensure a consistent experience across all channels. By deploying our patented technology, we can create a unique profile for each customer by binding their identity to their mobile devices, enabling two-way communication through a mutually validated, end-to-end encrypted channel. In the process, we transform the mobile device into a one-touch, step-up authentication tool.

Read more about how our omnichannel customer authentication solution could benefit you.

A customer can seamlessly access the banking app, log into online banking, check into a branch, or speak to the call center, confident that every interaction is secure. And by analyzing risk, the mobile becomes the trusted and familiar key for applying the appropriate authentication method when it really matters.

Much has been written about how authentication measures should be as seamless and invisible as possible because the friction they introduce degrades the consumer experience. So why, you may ask, does Entersekt believe a little friction is necessary? 

A little friendly friction can go a long way

The tides of public opinion do turn and, because of the alarming frequency with which data breaches have been reported in the news, consumers’ attitudes towards their personal data and the security needed to protect that data is changing.

And the research backs this up. An authentication survey by PYMNTS provided some insights into consumers’ new attitudes to authentication controls. One of the takeaways is that consumers want greater control over authentication – even if it means a little extra step – but they aren’t getting it.

The main motivator for this demand is the need for stronger security, with 70.2% of users saying they want more control for added security and 65.7% saying that having more control would make them feel more secure. More than half of users say that if they did have more control, they would use mobile banking more often, whether for transacting or simply managing money.

For more insights like these, download our research report, Consumer-Centric Authentication Study: Transforming the Consumers’ Digital Banking Experience, in collaboration with PYMNTS.com.

The outcome of the recent seamless security trend is that authentication measures all but disappear. So, when a customer anticipates some friction – in whatever form it may be – there is none. The result is the opposite of what was intended – customers start to doubt the security of the site, expecting imminent fraudulent activity.

Introducing a low level of “friendly friction”, in the form of step-up authentication for when it really matters, is something that research shows consumers would appreciate. They can see the security in action, and they feel more in control. Offering a set of channels that “look and feel” the same, work seamlessly together, and provide the anticipated extra authentication step when required, create a trusted space in which consumers and banks can foster deeper and more meaningful interactions. The key factor here is that the step-up authentication step is the same for all channels, making a customer’s experience more predictable and intuitive. This, in turn, makes them feel more secure, which is, after all, what they wanted.

Following on from the Authentication Study, we have released two playbooks in collaboration with PYMNTS.com, In search of authentication controls and Taking (authentication) control.