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3 June 2016: Nationwide’s Head of Innovation, James Smith, explores the future of mobile banking and biometric identification.

Do you find you often forget your passwords? Or that you’re forever having to reset them? You’re not alone. Recently we carried out a survey and found that the average person has to click on a “forgotten password” link twice a month, and that over *70% of people admit they struggle to remember their passwords.

We all know we shouldn’t use the same password for everything and we should change our passwords regularly, but nowadays many of us simply have too many passwords to remember. In fact, the average Brit has to remember six different passwords, and a quarter have more than 10 passwords memorised.

For Nationwide, innovation is all about finding new ways to meet customer needs. Our survey showed that 70% of us want additional layers of security but don’t want yet more passwords or PIN codes to remember. With 1.4 million mobile payments a month, it is vital that Nationwide finds a way to allow customers to transact securely, but in a simple and easy way.

This is why we have been working with an award winning new behavioural biometric prototype to explore the way customers use their smartphone or tablet, and translate this into a new way of verifying them. The behavioural biometric prototype recognises an individual’s interaction pattern; measuring the way they type into their device, how they touch the display, how they swipe between screens, and even the way they hold their phone or tablet. All this results in a series of unique interactions which can be isolated and used to identify an individual. Whilst a customer would still log on as normal, before they can make any payments the biometric prototype would read the customer’s hand movements to authenticate them before allowing any money to leave the account.

Nationwide has a history of innovating to meet customer needs. In 2015 we launched Apple Pay and Paym. In 2014 we became the first high street financial services provider to roll out wearable banking, and to launch 24/7 customer service via twitter. In 1997, Nationwide was the first to offer internet banking in the UK.

At the moment our behavioural biometric is still at prototype stage. Nevertheless, it’s already won Security Innovation of the Year at the Retail Banking International awards and provides an exciting insight into what the future may hold. The Society’s Innovation Team is dedicated to improving the lives of customers, and we will continue to explore cutting edge technology in order to respond to the needs of our members. I look forward to being able to share more of our work with you in the near future.

*Research was carried out by OnePoll and questioned 2,000 UK adults who own a smartphone between 24/03/16 – 30/03/16.

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