September 9, 2013
Improving Customer Authentication
The Retail Payments Risk Forum recently hosted payment industry participants at the Improving Customer Authentication forum. On July 31, banks, nonbank payment service providers, industry associations, law enforcement officials, and regulators listened as keynote speakers and panelists explored methods and technologies for improving customer authentication so that financial institutions and other payments stakeholders can better mitigate payments fraud. Forum goals were to help participants understand the challenges of current methods of authentication and the legal implications, as well as to explore emerging solutions, along with pros and cons, that can improve authentication in both the face-to-face and remote channels.
Some of the key learnings from the forum include:
- Customer authentication is critical to proving identity, authority, and consent throughout the entire payment process.
- Customer authentication can be achieved by any combination of factors within three categories. For best practice, different categories should be used:
- Something you know (user ID, password)
- Something you have (card, phone)
- Something you are (biometrics, activity pattern)
- Currently, no single, simple, legally approved method for authorizing a payment or ensuring that a particular payment is authorized exists.
- New payment types are stretching the boundaries of the current payments infrastructure and have created weak points that are being probed and exploited by cybercriminals.
- While overall payment card fraud levels, as expressed as a percentage of sales, are at an all-time low, certain categories of card fraud such as card-not-present (CNP) are significantly increasing.
- Financial institutions are encouraged to build relationships with local and federal law enforcement officials and to report fraud—it is possible that a crime at your institution is part of a larger network of criminal activity.
For a more complete summary of the forum and to see video interviews with two of the forum speakers, go to the conference website.
By David Lott, a retail payments risk expert in the Retail Payments Risk Forum at the Atlanta Fed
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