Biometric fraud prevention at TPBank

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Tien Phong Bank (TPBank) is the first to deploy a completely automatic bank model in Vietnam. In its constant development, TPBank has recently enabled card-less bank withdrawals using fingerprints, with the aid of biometrics technology. This is a huge step in fraud prevention for banking, for it eliminates the threat of illegal withdrawals using fake credit cards at ATMs.

The rise of high-tech scams

The quick rise of the digital economy is bringing about huge and international impacts to every facet of life; enabling the acceleration of comprehensive economic re-structuring, from the supplying of products and services, business methods, spending habits, and communications. In accordance with the trend, successful digital transformation for Vietnam can mean a 162 billion USD increase in GDP within 20 years, according to research by Data 61 (Australia).

In Vietnam’s path to successful and comprehensive digital transformation, transaction infrastructure, the participation of banks and business service providers play an equally important role to telecommunication businesses, with their connection and data processing devices. However, developments in technology had also given rise to high-tech criminals.

“Customer identification and verification are definite requirements in banking. Yet, we are finding ourselves face-to-face with numerous challenges due to the rise of fake identities and information in online transactions. And those fakes are scarily real.”

“Criminals are getting more cunning in their activities. They are buying real information, hiring people to open banking accounts and e-bankings that they have full control over, later on, all with real data. Such activities are almost impossible to detect, and banks will struggle in prevention criminals, money laundry, and even terrorism donation”, Mr. Nguyen Hung, CEO of TPBank shared his concerns at the recent Vietnam Private Sector Economic Forum 2019.

Warnings are constantly issued by banks in Vietnam, regarding online scamming schemes. In particular, for those who own online sales agents, scammers will pose as a foreign-based customer with the need to purchase goods for their families. The scammers will later ask to pay using transaction services like Moneygram, Western Union… then redirect the sellers to links of counterfeit websites. The fake websites will then lure the victims into entering their information for online banking, and scammers will then have full control of the victims’ accounts.

A bank warning on recent scamming schemes.

Another scheme is aimed at e-wallet users (Zalo, MoMo, Payoo,…), especially those who post queries and/or complaints on the app providers’ websites or fanpages. In this, the scammers will disguise as the providers’ staff and contact the customers about their queries, then ask them to provide account information so that they can fix whatever issues the customers are facing.

Scammers may also send fake warnings to customers’ E-Banking accounts, stating that there has been irregular activities or password expirations, and demand customers to re-enter their information. They also use fake app displays and log-in screens, luring the customers to those by fake emails disguised as genuine ones from banks, so as to trick customers into giving away their secured information.

Prevention of banking frauds using biometrics

“We see benefits in a Government-employed information portal for verification with data open to banks. In this way, we can limit a lot of high-technology scams”, shared the CEO of TPBank.

Mr. Nguyen Hung – CEO of TPBank.

To illustrate, Mr. Hung talked about how at the moment banks can only get social insurance or tax identification numbers and verify if that information is real. However, even if they are, there are still chances that those with this information are different from those doing the registration. Therefore, he believes that additional biometrics information like fingerprints, eye patterns, or face will greatly reduce such frauds.

“We are also the first bank in Vietnam to implement a completely automatic model with 24/24 operations and no human staff. It had taken us over 6 months to persuade the banking officials at the national bank of Vietnam to believe in the possibility of remote identification via digital systems. Through this model, we now hold a strong belief in automatic banking, even in comparison with face-to-face transactions”, CEO Nguyen Hung spoke on his experience of TPBank’s application of identification and verification technology.

The completely automatic, full-time bank of TPBank, without human staff.

According to Mr. Hung, with TPBank’s technology, they can gather fingerprints, face, voice – biometrics that is completely impossible to imitate. They later utilize these data for other security services, like card-less withdrawals using fingerprints, effectively eliminating the threats of fake ATM cards.

There are still limits, Mr.Hung admits, despite positive feedbacks and convenience. For example, customers will still need nearby booths to do these transactions.

“With this technology, we have somewhat erased the limits regarding time, yet still find problems in countering those regarding spaces. Locating thousands of automatic banks will be extremely cost and resource-consuming”, he said.

TPbank’s representative also hopes that these new technological solutions will partially counter nowadays’ rising digital crimes.

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