NatWest plans to replace bank passwords with behavioural biometrics

NatWest revealed plans of developing behavioural biometrics technology for possibly replacing banking passwords for increased transaction security and for making payments more secure.

The British retail banking company said that from 2021, an additional form of authentication will be needed for certain transactions when Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) comes into effect.

Strong Customer Authentication, which is part of the European Union (EU) Revised Directive on Payment Services (PSD2) regulation, is an extra layer of security that has been designed for preventing payment fraud and for checking that it is the cardholder, who is making the payment.

NatWest said that it will be the first bank to test the new technology specifically for the purpose of compliance with Strong Customer Authentication.

The bank said that its behavioural biometrics technology is being customised in partnership with Visa, which will be providing commercially available behavioural biometric technology to its clients through its VCAS end-to-end authentication solution.

Visa UK and Ireland managing director Jeni Mundy said: “Visa is committed to working with its partners to develop innovative technologies that remove friction for cardholders, increase security and satisfy regulatory requirements.

“Behavioural biometrics has already been deployed successfully for the purpose of fraud prevention, and now, following work between regulators and industry partners including Visa, has been approved as a second layer of security to be used alongside one-time passcodes in the context of Strong Customer Authentication.”

According to NatWest, behavioural biometrics works by analysing the unique manners in which a customer interacts with their device when buying something online. The behavioural biometrics technology uses the information for confirming who is making the purchase and does not access or share any private data held on a device, said the bank.

The British retail bank said that by working in the background of a transaction, the new technology can provide a seamless experience for customers while sustaining a high level of security.

NatWest strategy and innovation director Georgina Bulkeley said: “We continue to explore biometrics and how they can be used to make payments easier and simpler for our customers.

“The success of a pilot of this new technology demonstrates our ongoing commitment to developing innovative ways of enhancing customer experience while prioritising security.”