Your face is your password

No more struggling to remember a password – HSBC business customers can now access their accounts with just their face. The bank has introduced a facial recognition option which offers a quick, convenient and secure way of logging into the HSBCnet Mobile app.

The latest version of the app is currently available in 24 markets. It will launch in further countries and territories later this year.

We are pioneering this technology within the financial services sector for businesses and corporates

The facial recognition option is compatible with selected new models of smartphone. Customers simply look at the screen and their face is recognised in less than a second. The software creates a 30,000-point ‘depth map’ of the face, which will adapt to a person’s appearance as it changes. The app can still recognise people safely and accurately as they age, or if they start wearing glasses, for example.

Once logged in, business customers can check their balance and review recent transactions. By using a hard token to go through an additional security layer, they can also move money and authorise payments.

Niall Cameron, Global Head of Corporate and Institutional Digital, HSBC, said: “We are pioneering this technology within the financial services sector for businesses and corporates. Our unparalleled global digital footprint allows us to deploy new technology like this quickly and at scale to make a real difference to our customers.”

Blockchain breakthrough

Facial recognition software is just one among a number of technologies in which HSBC is investing to make banking safer, quicker and more convenient for customers. For example, the bank is playing a key role in developing new technologies with the potential to make international commerce quicker and easier.

Earlier this month, blockchain technology was used to complete a live trade finance transaction – a shipment of soybeans from Argentina to Malaysia. A Letter of Credit, guaranteeing that the seller would be paid when the shipment arrived, was agreed and completed in 24 hours. A typical paper-based transaction would take 5-10 days.

The deal was carried out on a blockchain platform – essentially a form of shared digital database – developed with the backing of a consortium of 12 banks, including HSBC. While previous prototypes have shown that blockchain technology has the potential to reduce the time-consuming paperwork associated with traditional trade finance, this is the first time it has been applied to a real commercial deal.

HSBC invested USD2.3 billion in digital transformation across its businesses between 2015 and 2017. It continues to look at global technology trends in markets around the world, focusing on the technologies that will be most beneficial to customers.