With the UK population now fully adjusted to the various pandemic-based restrictions, much of the public has become accustomed to doing their shopping or banking online. With more people using their tablets and smartphones to open bank accounts and to make transactions, it is imperative that companies work to build the same sense of trust amongst their customers that they would when interacting face to face. For authentication and verification expert Payfone, reducing friction in the customer experience – without compromising on security – is the best way forward.

Although online has become the norm as far as banking and shopping are concerned, uncertainty remains for consumers. Some are new to faceless interaction and are still getting to grips with it, and there is the ever-present threat posed by cybercrime. This has provided the perfect opportunity for the financial service sector to show customers that online can do better.

For Keiron Dalton, VP at Payfone, it’s all about recreating the human experience as best as possible, allowing customers to have a seamless, easy, and secure experience online.

Dalton said: “Building trust between business and customer is vital, and maintaining a positive customer experience is key to making this happen. A user should be able to make a transaction or sign up for a bank account with as little disruption as possible, but they also need the reassurance that their data is secure.

“SMS OTP has generally been an efficient technique to achieve this, as it provides heightened security and reduces reliance on outdated methods such as static passwords. However, as fraud methods have become more complex over the years there are now ways to bypass OTP, for instance through SIM swapping. Other techniques, like biometrics, can also be bypassed with the right methods. In both cases, there’s also an element of friction to their use, which is something that should be reduced where possible, while guarding data from the latest threats.”

“With online interactions set to dominate for the foreseeable future, organisations need to introduce new ways to verify customers without the need to go into a bank branch, while still providing the same, if not higher, standard of security and familiarity.

“By analysing and drawing insight from the behaviour attached to a user’s phone number, for example, a bank can seamlessly verify that a customer opening an account is genuine. Methods like this can be employed in areas such as auto form pre-fill, which pre-fills online application forms with verified information from authoritative sources, which in turn builds trust by guarding against fraud while avoiding making the customer experience too cumbersome.”

Dalton concluded: “We’re entering what is likely a new era for customer identification. Businesses have had to adapt their operations in the last few months very quickly, but now is the time to implement the long-term changes that will future-proof the organisation. Building customer trust needs to be done in a different way now, and the companies that are prepared to evolve their approaches are the ones that will thrive.”