Advantages of biometrics explained

What Are the Advantages of Face Biometrics? 

May 30 2022

User authentication and verification are crucial for online security because the internet depends on trust. Booking accommodation with a host, accessing your bank account, applying for government benefits, accepting a new friend request on social media — millions of online interactions and transactions take place every day and they all depend on trust.

Over time, many authentication methods have been developed to establish trust online: passwords, PINs, secret questions, one-time passcodes via SMS, and so on. Biometrics have become increasingly common because they offer a highly convenient, secure, and inclusive alternative to oft-forgotten or stolen passwords and PINs. This makes biometrics very useful for online identity verification and authentication.

In this article, we’ll explain why face biometrics is the best way to authenticate and verify users online.

Before we begin, two things to note:

  • Firstly, when talking about face biometrics, we’re referring to face verification, and not face recognition for surveillance. Face verification is for personal benefit and the user willingly collaborates with the verification, whereas with face recognition the user has no control and may not know it’s happening. These are two distinct technologies for different use-cases.
  • Secondly, the majority of this article refers specifically to the benefits of iProov technology, rather than face biometrics in general. Remember: not all biometric solutions are created equal. iProov face biometric solutions use patented technology that gives our customers and their end users unique advantages in security and usability.

So, what are the advantages of biometrics for online identity verification and authentication?

Face biometrics deliver a fast and convenient user experience

A truly passive face biometric verification solution involves a person looking into their user-facing camera. That’s it. There’s nothing to remember, no complex instructions to read, and nothing that you can break or lose. There’s complex technology at work to make biometrics secure, but for the user it’s strikingly simple, fast, and convenient.

How does iProov deliver a fast and convenient user experience?

iProov delivers passive face biometric solutions. The key differences between an active and a passive solution can be found here. Essentialy, it means that the technology does the hard work and makes it effortless for the user – minimizing friction and making it more inclusive. iProov believes that strong security can also offer an excellent user experience without the need to make the user make random movements, say numbers, or follow dots.

iProov’s reassuring ceremony takes just a few seconds. There are no complex steps for the user to take: just look at the user-facing camera and you’re done.

To summarize, iProov technology delivers a fast and convenient user experience because it is:

  • Passive, meaning it does not require additional steps from the user other than to look at their device’s user-facing camera
  • One of the few solutions that can deliver security with effortless usability
  • Favored by users because of the speed and convenience it delivers. iProov surveyed 1000s of people across the UK, US, Canada, Australia and the EU about biometric face authentication and the results were clear: users love the speed and convenience. You can read the statistics here.

Face biometrics are more secure

Biometrics are more secure than knowledge-based authentication methods (like passwords or shared secrets) because biometrics can’t be stolen — nobody can steal your genuine face. They can take a copy of your face, but they can’t steal it. Biometrics are also more secure than possession-based authentication because you can’t lose or break your face. You can lose or break a mobile phone, or leave your card reader at home, but your biometrics are always with you.

The right biometric solution can offer the highest levels of security, without compromising on usability and simplicity for the user (which is why you need to be careful choosing your biometric vendor!)

How does iProov offer secure biometrics?

There’s a reason biometric technology – particularly iProov’s Genuine Presence Assurance® – is chosen by the world’s most security-conscious organizations (such as governments and banks) that need to safeguard sensitive information and secure high-risk transactions.

iProov is different to other biometric solutions because it verifies that the remote user is the right person, the real person, and that they are interacting in real-time. The latter is critical. Verifying that a user is the right person, that their face matches their photo identity document, is relatively simple. Verifying that they are not a deepfake or a pre-recorded authentication is much harder and that is what sets iProov apart from other biometric vendors.

iProov’s unrivaled spoof attack detection has been tested by the most rigorous organizations, including independent testing on behalf of the US Department of Homeland Security and other national government organizations. Genuine Presence Assurance defends, detects and protects against threats such as:

  • Highly scalable digital injection attacks (replayed or synthetic imagery that bypasses the device camera or is injected into the data stream)
  • Presentation attacks (physical or digital artifacts presented to the device camera).

Additionally, cloud-based technology enables active threat monitoring and evolving security against new threats. You can read more about cloud vs on-device biometrics here and our active threat management service, iProov Security Operations Center (iSOC), here.

Ultimately, iProov’s face biometric technology proves that world-class security does not have to be complex for the user.

To summarize, iProov’s biometric face authentication technology delivers the highest levels of security because it:

  • Uses cutting-edge technology to deliver unrivaled spoof detection
  • Is proven in the real-world, being used by security-conscious organizations such as the US Department of Homeland Security
  • Is a cloud-hosted solution, which enables active threat detection and an ever-evolving approach to security.

Face biometrics can deliver high success rates

The right face biometric solution can deliver a more straightforward and seamless user experience. This can mean users are far more likely to complete your organization’s onboarding or authentication processes.

Governments, financial organizations and many other industries have embraced face biometrics for effortless customer experiences that minimize drop-off and deliver high customer satisfaction.

How does iProov deliver high success rates?

  • A user-focused approach to design is at the heart of iProov technology. This focus on inclusivity and user experience means we can deliver industry-leading success rates
  • iProov success rates are typically >98% across the board
  • iProov uses face abstraction, which eliminates selfie anxiety and encourages people to complete the process.

Face biometrics deliver excellent inclusivity and accessibility

Face biometrics only needs a device with a user-facing camera – no specialist hardware is required. The vast majority of devices have a camera; not all have a microphone or fingerprint scanning pad. The ubiquity of mobile and tablet device usage across multiple demographic groups means that the right face biometric solution can deliver maximum inclusivity and accessibility.

For a digital solution to be widely adopted it must be inclusive, and services provided online must be simple to use and offer convenience rather than obstacles for a customer. Traditional methods like visiting a branch may be difficult or impractical for some people. Face biometrics provide a secure online alternative that supports customers in multiple regions and diverse populations.

But ultimately, the inclusivity and accessibility is very much down to the type of face biometrics used.

How does iProov deliver inclusivity and accessibility?

Inclusivity and accessibility are at the heart of our solutions. iProov facial biometrics are accessible regardless of age, gender, ethnicity and cognitive ability. The technology is completely passive and intuitive. The user does not have to smile or turn their head – which is common in many active biometric solutions – but instead simply look at their device. And the more people that can use a solution, the greater reach it has.

iProov works on any device with a user-facing camera. For those that do not possess a smartphone, or require additional assistance in person, we have made our solution available on kiosks – which allows organizations to offer secure services to citizens and customers without access to a smartphone. Anyone can use iProov’s face verification, from the age of 16 to 106!

To summarize, iProov face biometric technology offers inclusivity because it:

  • Has been designed to offer secure services to as many citizens and customers as possible. Attributes like age, gender, technical or cognitive ability, social or ethnic background must not become barriers to inclusion
  • Does not require any complex instructions to read, understand and execute
  • Ensures users are not segregated by their brand or platform choices
  • Is used in different continents, with iProov actively looking for, and removing, bias in our systems
  • Is available on iOS, Android or the web as well as supporting kiosks. Our collaboration with the UK Home Office saw 2500+ devices used during that one implementation.

Face biometrics enable true usability

Usability means minimizing friction for users. Good usability means effortless access for the widest section of the population as possible. With face biometrics, everyone has a face, so everyone can authenticate.

Usability is the fundamental business requirement of any authentication solution. There are several aspects that must be taken into account. First, it means that any solution should be user-centric and no effort such as complex instructions or actions should be expected from the user. It’s not equitable to demand ownership of a particular technology or device to authenticate.

How does iProov deliver usability?

  • Comfortable user engagement: iProov technology supports natural posing and camera positioning from the user
  • Device-agnostic and omni-channel authentication across any device (mobile, web and kiosks).

Face biometrics increases authentication & verification efficiency and automates processes

Face verification can enable a fully automated, secure, effortless and regulatory-compliant digital onboarding journey. Manual verification and authentication, such as in-branch visits or contacting call centers, can negatively impact customer experience and significantly slow things down. With face biometrics, people are able to prove that they are who they say they are securely and conveniently without ever having to leave the comfort of their own couch.

To verify an asserted identity remotely, you also need to scan the ID of a government-issued photo document. This is a distinct advantage of face biometrics specifically, because these IDs largely use the face as means of identification. You could not enroll someone by asking for their fingerprint or their phone number – usually, a face is the only option for verifying someone against an ID.

One Mckinsey report found a 90% reduction in customer onboarding costs by using digital ID-enabled processes.

Ultimately, face biometrics can replace or enhance manual verification to both reduce overall costs and increase accuracy, all while aiding organizational compliance with KYC and AML regulations. It also bolsters fraud prevention efforts and speeds up the onboarding process, which works to maximize customer success rates and reduce drop-off during application.

To summarize, iProov face biometric technology increases efficiency because it:

  • Can replace the need for manual verification processes
  • Can automate part of the onboarding process, which is a distinct advantage of face biometrics because the face is the identifier used for official government IDs. This enables verification of a face against an identity endorsed by a legal authority.

Face biometrics deliver maximum reassurance

It’s possible to make things too easy. For example, let’s say that a person is making a large payment. They want to feel and see the security verification taking place. If they don’t experience any sort of verification, they may be unnerved, which could cause them to distrust the company or service. The appropriate level of reassurance is important.

At iProov, we call this the “ceremony”: the user is aware that the authentication is happening and they feel reassured that security is being applied.

How does iProov deliver reassurance to users?

  • iProov’s Genuine Presence Assurance technology illuminates the user’s face with a sequence of colors. This short ‘ceremony’ takes a few seconds and helps to reassure the customer that a secure transaction has taken place.

The advantages of face biometrics: a summary

  • Convenience and speed: Presenting your face to a device’s user-facing camera if far quicker than remembering and typing a password, for instance. iProov specifically is passive, which means all the user has to do is look at the camera to authenticate. It’s strikingly simple, fast, and convenient.
  • Security: Biometric face authentication is more secure than passwords or other authentication methods because your face can’t be stolen. iProov delivers unique anti-spoofing techniques to prevent your face being copied.
  • Success rates: A painless user experience means lower user drop-off rates. iProov success rates are typically >98%.
  • Inclusivity and accessibility: Face biometrics only requires a user-facing camera rather than any specialist hardware, making it accessible. iProov is available on many device types: smartphones, computers, tablets, and even kiosks. The technology has been designed to offer the most inclusive and accessible services to citizens and customers.
  • Usability: With face biometrics, everyone has a face, so everyone can authenticate! iProov’s passive solution is particularly usable – there are no complex instructions to follow and no movement required, meaning that the user’s verification and authentication experience is effortless.
  • Efficiency and automation: With face biometrics, people are able to prove that they are who they say they are securely and conveniently without ever having to leave the comfort of their couch. The face is particularly important here because it is the identifier used for official government IDs.
  • Reassurance: Not all authentication methods reassure the user. iProov’s Genuine Presence Assurance technology illuminates the user’s face with a sequence of colors, which reassure the customer that a secure transaction has taken place – user trust is therefore increased.

And there we have it: the top advantages of face biometrics. If you’d like to see the benefits of using face authentication to secure and streamline user authentication for your organization, book your demo here. You can read up further on our customers and case studies here.

Or, want to brush up on your biometric knowledge? Visit our Biometric Encyclopedia!

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