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.


About Al Pascual

An accomplished industry analyst, market researcher, and financial industry practitioner, Al Pascual is Javelin’s Senior VP of Research and Head of Fraud & Security. As SVP of Research, he oversees the firm’s operations and ensures that Javelin’s research content provides the innovative perspectives that clients expect from the firm.

As Head of Fraud & Security, Al provides clients actionable insights on a variety of fraud and security issues, acts as a partner in developing strategies for managing risk, and identifies and raises awareness of future threats and solutions. Al researches a range of topics, including the applicability of biometrics in banking and payments, the effect of data breaches on the integrity of consumer identities, the relationship between identity fraud and loyalty, and the best methods for securing data and transactions.

Al has presented findings from Javelin’s rigorous, industry-leading research at conferences around the world, including BAI, CARTES, Money20/20, NACHA, and RSA. Al has provided commentary on fraud and security issues to media outlets such as American Banker, Bloomberg, CNNMoney, Fox Business, Reuters, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Wired.

Previously Al held risk management roles at HSBC, Goldman Sachs, and FIS. He is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators, and the Federal Reserve Secure Payments Task Force. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of South Florida.

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