It is estimated that 3.8 billion people currently own a smartphone1. With so many mobile devices in use, the way we live our lives has drastically changed, from connecting with one another on social media to making purchases online. COVID-19 has only increased customer demand for mobile solutions, and the banking and financial services industries have had to adjust to provide their customers with new ways to manage their money on the go.

Unfortunately, customer onboarding continues to be primarily an in-person experience and transaction processing, while mobile, continues to be reliant on outdated and fraud-prone passwords. Biometrics could hold the answer to both of these modern-day dilemmas—providing financial companies with a way to go branchless by performing secure, mobile onboarding and transaction processing without passwords.

The Problems with Traditional Onboarding and Authentication

Traditional customer onboarding remains primarily a face-to-face experience today. Unfortunately, this requirement comes with a number of significant disadvantages for today’s customers:


With the proliferation of internet-enabled mobile devices, people have gotten accustomed to handling their day-to-day affairs on their own terms. Especially after COVID-19, people expect to be able to perform virtually any errand remotely and conveniently. Unfortunately, modern reliance on in-person customer onboarding flies in the face of this customer sentiment and serves as an immediate roadblock for customers.


Visiting a local branch or office to open an account is a time-consuming process for customers, even when you take travel time out of the equation. Waiting for a representative, processing paperwork and verifying identification documents is not an expedient process, potentially resulting in the loss of new customers. Approximately 63% of consumers have abandoned an application2 because of the lengthy process.

Attracting New Customers

In-person onboarding requirements can also limit a bank or financial institution’s ability to bring on new customers and enter new markets. This is because rural populations can often have significant travel times to overcome just to visit a branch. Providing a remote onboarding process, however, would allow such institutions to reach customers who may have otherwise been unwilling to make the trip.

Transaction authentication on the other hand, is typically mobile-based and convenient, but comes with one significant challenge: password-reliance. As a quick glance at today’s news can attest, large-scale data breaches and identify theft are on the rise globally. These trends shine a light on passwords’ increasing inability to protect our sensitive accounts and information, and the need for financial institutions to look for more secure alternatives for customers.

Addressing Today’s Challenges with Biometrics

Modern-day biometrics offer a lot of advantages to banks and financial companies looking to provide a remote onboarding process and increase authentication security.


Today’s biometric solutions do not require large equipment and hardware. Instead, they are increasingly mobile, using the cameras and microphones found in today’s smart devices to perform highly secure face and voice recognition and authentication. They can also use these cameras to provide document verification services, matching a person’s identification documents directly to the user—a key workflow in the onboarding process.

Increased Security

Biometrics are inherently a stronger and more secure authentication solution than passwords. This is because passwords can be guessed at or stolen. Biometrics, however, use something no one can steal: a person’s unique face and voice. Additionally, many biometric solutions feature liveness detection, which is designed to determine whether a user is a real living person and not an impostor using a photo, video or mask. Combined, mobile biometric matching and liveness provides financial companies with a much stronger authentication solution than traditional methods.


The addition of biometric functionality also makes customer interactions more convenient and flexible. With secure registration and authentication and document verification, the onboarding process can go mobile, providing a much more convenient alternative to in-person methods. The authentication and liveness procedures are also frictionless and easy for users, requiring only a selfie or voice prompt to gain access.

The Knomi® mobile biometric authentication platform from Aware is a strong option for any financial company looking to improve their onboarding or authentication practices. Knomi uses mobile devices to conduct biometric matching and liveness detection, and provide secure and convenient facial and voice recognition for mobile multifactor authentication and onboarding. With built-in passive liveness detection, and a host of flexible configurations to choose from, Knomi is an easy to integrate solution to add convenience and security to today’s financial workflows.

For more information about the Knomi mobile biometric authentication platform, please contact us or visit our webpage.