It seems that with every day that passes we hear about a new authentication approach or threat. All this noise makes it easy to understand how we may end up glossing over really important, seemingly obvious factors that affect the authentication of our customers. More specifically, financial service providers that fail to fully consider the issue of authentication usability can subsequently diminish the experience of the very customers they are attempting to protect.
No one wants to implement a new, cutting edge solution that ends up deterring the affluent, millennials, or boomers from engaging in the first place. But what does usability really mean from a customer’s point of view? A practical consideration of the factors that influence usability can expose an inaccurate, but often held assumption that consumers are equally able to physically interact with authentication solutions.
Not every consumer can interact with an authentication solution in the same way, so how a financial service provider chooses to authenticate customers will influence whether or not they can meaningfully and independently access products and services. In our rush to identify viable alternatives to the user name and password, a foremost consideration has to be the usability of new authentication solutions for the diverse set of consumers who experience some form of disability (1 in 5 in the US per the Census and CDC). It is our responsibility to keep customers’ accounts safe, but in doing so we must not fall victim to an assumption that inhibits our customers from leading their financial lives.