HSBC’s selfie solution

7th Sep 2016

HSBC’s business customers will soon be able to open new accounts with a simple selfie, the bank has revealed.

People wishing to open an account will be invited to supply a headshot taken on their smartphone, which the bank will then verify using facial recognition software before allowing them to make transactions. A passport or driving licence photo will also be required as an additional security measure. 

“Through simplifying the ID verification process, we’ll be able to save our business customers time and open accounts quicker,” says HSBC's head of global propositions for commercial banking, Richard Davies. “We also expect the convenience and speed of a selfie to become the verification method of choice for our customers, who no longer need to visit a branch to complete the process.”

Banks have increasingly employed biometric tools in recent years, and other methods available to customers include iris and finger vein recognition. Like Barclays, First Direct and many of its other competitors, HSBC already uses biometrics to identify millions of its customers. In February, the bank was the first to announce the rollout of voice recognition technology for its telephone banking system, and it has since introduced fingerprint technology to its mobile banking app. 

Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, believes such advances recognise changing customer priorities and match these with the digital age. “Innovation of this nature demonstrates a sustained focus on service and is a sign that established brands are reacting to the fresh approach laid down by challenger brands,” she says.

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