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Written by Cyndie Martini
on May 31, 2022

Biometric authentication for credit unions provided a needed security solution during the pandemic. Due to branch closures, nearly all customers were confined to using a financial institution's website or mobile app. Not having to type in a password was a welcomed convenience.

The elimination of passwords has been a long time coming. In fact, Apple, Microsoft, and Google are teaming up to eliminate passwords. Mobile devices already have biometric authentication built-in. Apps developed for these devices can use the available biometric authentications and bypass having to build a solution from the ground up

Larger banks were some of the first financial institutions to integrate biometric authentication. It started spreading across credit unions during the pandemic but more slowly, mainly due to resource constraints that many credit unions face.

How does biometric authentication work? It depends on the solution. A biometric authentication provider, which can be a fintech, allows the financial institution to integrate with its software. This means credit unions don't have to build the solution. 

Biometric authentication solutions add an extra layer of protection against fraud. Authentication can take the following forms:

  • Face recognition
  • Fingerprint biometric scanning
  • Interactive voice response (IVR)

In addition to authentication, some of the solutions provide customer service offerings. Great Lakes Credit Union (GLCU) uses biometric solutions from Access Softek and Enacomm. Access Softek’s Conversational Banking also includes a chatbot, live chat, agent advisor, and video chat options.

Wings Financial Credit Union of Minnesota partnered with Nuance Communications for its Intelligent Engagement platform and Gatekeeper voice biometrics offerings.

AI-powered biometric platforms can provide a holistic biometric authentication user experience. Meaning that biometrics are used across all of the credit union's authentication touchpoints, such as:

  • Completing an eCommerce transaction
  • Visiting a branch
  • Contacting a call center
  • Logging into the credit union's website or mobile app

Entersekt's MemberPass Express is an example of a biometric authentication AI platform.

"The joint new solution leverages artificial intelligence to protect members from fraud by analyzing the context (such as identity, behavior, location, device, and channel) of each user journey in real-time. This informs the most appropriate member authentication method that will be used and means that members will now benefit from industry-leading authentication while enjoying a fast and smooth user experience," Schalk Nolte, chief executive of Entersekt, said in a prepared statement.


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