Behavioral Biometrics Begin to Impact Financial Services

by on Apr 25, 2016


In 2014, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, estimated that cybercrime costs the global economy roughly $400 billion a year and affects more than 800 million people annually.[1] The financial services industry in particular is a major target for cybercriminals[2], and for obvious reasons – it’s where the money is.

As the sophistication of cybercriminal tactics grows, financial institutions must strive for better techniques to combat the threat posed by hackers. One response that’s gaining increased attention is biometric security, which authenticates users by relying on their physical characteristics. While many financial services firms have embraced Apple’s Touch ID thumbprint scanning technology, there are other forms of biometric authentication—such as behavioral biometrics—that are beginning to come to market and offer the potential for added security.

British mutual financial institution Nationwide Building Society, in partnership with biometric security provider BehavioSec and IT company Unisys, has recently developed a prototype mobile banking app that features behavioral biometric login security. This technology will provide an extra layer of login security by complementing the process of entering a PIN or password with a secondary, invisible factor that authenticates users by “recognizing unique patterns from people’s natural interactions with their smartphone or tablet.” [3] These can include how users hold, swipe or tap their device. With this additional authentication, a client’s account would remain uncompromised even if their password makes its way into the wrong hands.

Internet security provider TeleSign recently launched Behavior ID, a similar technology that records user behavior like mouse movement, typing and screen taps. According to Steve Jillings, the firm’s CEO, what makes this technology effective is the fact that it is “virtually impossible to precisely imitate another person’s behavior.”[4] The firm offers software development kits for web and mobile applications that can be integrated into both new and existing platforms.[5]

Our upcoming study The Innovation Advantage takes a deeper dive into behavioral biometrics and other tactics organized around seven major themes—gamification, goal-setting, news, education, document management, security and augmented reality. The study profiles companies outside of the mainstream financial services space that provide cutting-edge customer experiences in these areas, which financial institutions can learn from and adapt to their own digital platforms. For more information or to pre-order the full study, please contact Craig Sherter at 646-929-5149 or

Download your complimentary preview below, featuring a study excerpt on gamification!


[1] Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Net Losses: Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime.” McAfee. June 2014.


[3] Telegraph Reporters. “Nationwide Develops New Secure App that Recognizes User’s Behavior.” The Telegraph. April 10, 2016.

[4] Luke Graham. “Biometrics. The Future of Digital Security.” CNBC. April 5, 2016.

[5] Nathan Eddy. “TeleSign Launches Behavior ID Identity Platform.” April 6, 2016.