In a radical move the UK’s Nat West has become the first major high street bank to enable customers to open an account with a selfie. All a customer needs to do is provide a selfie and photo ID, such as a passport to verify who they are.

The bank is using state-of-the-art” artificial intelligence to underpin selfie identification. That said it is not the first UK bank to do so.
  • Metro Bank, which largely operates in London and south-east England said last year it aims to be the first UK high street bank to use selfie technology to open retail accounts online.
  • Digital banks Monzo and Starling let people open accounts by recording a short selfie video and providing a photo of a valid ID document.
However, Nat West is certainly the largest traditional bank to adopt selfie IDs by a longshot.

Real-time biometric checks are carried out to confirm that the selfie matches the image in the ID documents a customer has uploaded. Documents are also authenticated in order to prevent fraudulent applications.

Nat West claims that some customers completed their ID verification in as little as four minutes and added that the service has been successfully piloted with more than 60,000 customers.

These types of new ID services use ground-breaking technology, such as advanced mathematical algorithms, colour wave technology and a huge proprietary library of document images, to establish in seconds whether a document is genuine.

Burning need

In banking today, there is a general presumption that an applicant, both online and offline, is a real person with a single identity as opposed to a fake person with multiple identities.

But given the scale of identity theft and the wide spread sale of ID information on the dark web, this is clearly a flawed assumption.

There is a strong need for improved identity authentication in financial services. A survey last year from GBG, a provider of ID scan technologies, surveyed 500 UK financial services organisations. It discovered:
  • Identity fraud and application frauds are the most common type of criminal activity; 40.3 % of organisations cite identity fraud and 44.8 % application fraud as the biggest fraud headaches.
Of course, while cyber criminals place great value on financial data, other forms of ID data are also considered valuable ranging from driving licence numbers to loyalty card information.

BullGuard Premium Protection is an industry-leading security suite that alongside award-winning malware protection also delivers comprehensive ID protection, whether it’s passwords, account numbers, email addresses or any other valuable personal data you want to protect.