Santander speeds up facial biometrics in Brazil

Santander announced the implementation of facial biometrics to millions of customers as part of the bank’s broader efforts around digital transformation.

The technology is being rolled out gradually, and approximately 10 million home and business customers will use mobile banking for transactions invited to register to use the feature.

Used in most of the neobanks operating in Brazil, smartphone-based facial biometrics are described by Santander as a more secure option for identity verification than fingerprints, which are currently captured at ATMs.

The bank will build its own facial biometrics database, according to Ulian, which is considered more reliable than using a third-party database. Additionally, the technology is expected to improve Santander’s fraud prevention algorithms and enable the instant detection of suspicious transactions.

Technology is also expected to digitize a number of branch activities. For example, high value transfers for the purchase of a car or property require customers in Santander, Brazil to apply for authorization from the branch to prove that the transaction is genuine.

“By opting for facial biometrics, [transaction clearance] can be done remotely by the account holder, ”explains Marcela Ulian, Executive Superintendent of Digital Affairs at Santander Brazil. According to Ulian, the feature is not mandatory and users will have the option to turn off the feature.

Currently, Santander estimates that digital channels account for 92% of all transactions made by retail customers, while 95% of corporate customer transaction volume is done online. The Spanish bank’s Brazilian subsidiary estimates that facial biometrics will lead to a further increase in mobile transactions of 2.5 percentage points for individuals and 5 percentage points for businesses.

The increase in the digitization of transactions will lead to an accelerated reinvention of bank branches, according to Santander, noting that physical spaces “will be increasingly focused on advisory services and specialist guidance of clients, business generation and solving very complex problems “.


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