Creating a Secure, Friction-Free Digital Banking Experience

It has become more apparent, and more expected, that consumers have the ability to access and transact with their financial institution through any channel, at any time and based on individual needs and preferences. The continuous evolution of online and mobile banking has provided consumers with the ability to have this anytime, anywhere experience, but the tradeoff between securing access and providing a positive user experience seems to be at odds. Many consumers are surprised to learn that securing online and mobile banking with passwords not only creates a poor user experience, but does little to thwart cyber criminals. However, by embracing new approaches to authentication, security can be greatly enhanced while streamlining the user experience.

When creating an online and mobile experience for your customers, it’s important that the concept of a secure, multi-purpose user identity is at the center of your plan. In today’s competitive landscape, financial institutions have much to gain by moving towards a single, powerful credential that provides consumers with seamless access to multiple channels (online, mobile, POS, ATM, etc.) while serving as a multi-functional tool for accessing information, verifying transactions, signing or approving contracts and more. A trusted, secure user identity allows consumers to complete a variety of transactions with ease and more importantly, with a high level of confidence.

According to Goldman Sachs analysts, non-traditional digital banking startups are already jeopardizing around $4.7 trillion of the financial services industry’s business. Financial consumers care less and less about the end products — high-return deposit accounts or low-rate loans — and more and more about the simplicity, convenience and the empowerment of the omni-channel consumer experience. Acquiring and retaining consumers in a fiercely competitive marketplace — flooded with waves of non-traditional players — requires a consumer-centric digital strategy.

However, as cyber threats and online fraud continue to grow, consumers are increasingly concerned with the safety and security of their financial data and personal information, especially when engaging in digital banking and e-commerce transactions. The near-daily breach headlines underscore how traditional authentication methods cannot keep up with the evolving threat landscape. New approaches must be in place to ensure security.

Solutions providers are working to provide financial institutions with authentication and transaction security approaches that provide consumers with the frictionless digital banking and shopping experience they have come to expect. By providing security features that are transparent to the user or allow for low-friction ways to engage customers in the fight against fraud, banks are able to enhance trust and overall customer satisfaction.

As the consumer lifestyle increasingly centers on mobile devices, the seemingly obvious answer to achieving security is to leverage mobile devices as the center of the identity solution. Consumers are never far from their mobile device and more times than not, they will return home to retrieve it if forgotten. By utilizing a mobile device as an identity solution, financial institutions can ensure that the solution is always available and at the consumer’s fingertips – literally. And, because consumers increasingly conduct essential transactions via mobile channels, a trusted mobile identity enables them to access all of their digital channels and conduct digital transactions with a single, intuitive credential.

By embedding the secure digital identity into your mobile banking application, you are providing your consumers with a transparent authentication solution that allows them to carry out their transactions securely and with ease. When consumers access their mobile banking app, a simple PIN or biometric authentication to the device is all is that is needed to authenticate to the device – in the background however, the strong digital identity that is bound to the phone secures the mobile channel to the banking server. All of this happens within micro-seconds and allows the user access to the app as soon as their identity is verified – all without passwords, challenge questions or frustration.

Above and beyond simply accessing mobile applications and completing banking transactions, the same mobile identity is highly useful for securing online shopping transactions. When an online retailer verifies a customer’s sufficient funds with a financial institution, it also can request the consumer approve the transaction through a push notification sent to their mobile device. The customer can review and approve the transaction in real time with a simple tap or swipe providing assurance that only valid transactions are executed on their behalf. This allows the customer to create the perfect balance of peace of mind without the added hassle of dealing with dated authentication schemes.

Today, banks must rethink how they interact to meet the needs of the modern customer – providing novel approaches to security can streamline and enhance the user experience while building the trust that has become critical in this evolved digital world.


Mike Byrnes acts as Product Manager, Authentication at Entrust Datacard. Byrnes has more than 20 years’ experience in product management and technology marketing with a focus on internet security and business communication systems. Mike drives product marketing for the Entrust IdentityGuard authentication platform with a significant focus on mobile solutions. In addition to mobile, his background covers identity and access management, fraud detection, malware protection, and email encryption solutions. 

Written by Mike Byrnes