The bank technology provider FIS and the credit bureau Equifax are jointly launching an authentication platform called OnlyID for banks and retailers Wednesday.
The idea is, consumers could have one set of credentials — a combination of biometrics, behavior analytics, and identity information — with which to identify themselves wherever they shop or bank online. They would no longer have to remember or keep lists and sticky notes of their user names and passwords for all the websites and apps they use.
Years ago, at one of the first Finovate conferences, the fintech startup AnchorID launched the same thing. But the company quickly pivoted to becoming an enterprise authentication software vendor, providing technology companies could use to authenticate employees. More recently, scores of digital identity startups and open-source projects have emerged, all trying to improve a system that inconveniences people without protecting their information particularly well.
“I use a password keeper, there’s no way for me to remember the passwords for all the sites I use,” said Ken Allen, Equifax’s senior vice president of identity and fraud. “This is a path to an easier user experience. There’s a consumer value proposition of being in control of their data any time they visit any site.”
The two vendors say they are talking with the many authentication software vendors out there, which include the biometric authentication providers Socure, EyeVerify, EyeLock, Nuance, and Daon; behavioral biometrics providers like BioCatch and SecuredTouch; and vendors that offer several authentication forms in one solution, including Socure, Trusona, SecureKey and Bioconnect.
For now, OnlyID supports fingerprint recognition for devices that contain it, device ID, geolocation data, identity profiles and behavior pattern analyses. Its algorithm considers these in combination and predicts the likelihood of an identity match or, conversely, fraud.
“It eliminates passwords and the need to continuously share personally identifiable information,” said Esther Pigg, senior vice president of product strategy at FIS. “The idea is for consumers and financial institutions to be able to gain greater confidence around the validity of the consumer’s identity, as well as help reduce fraud and identity theft while improving convenience.”
A bank could choose to let its apps and websites integrate with the OnlyID authentication app. Or it could completely embed OnlyID in its mobile banking app, replacing its existing login mechanism.
One advantage FIS and Equifax have is that collectively they serve more than 12,000 financial institutions and 30,000 retailers and store identity records for more than a billion consumers. If they gain traction among this customer base, they could start to create the kind of network effect needed to be accepted as a universal ID provider.