It’s difficult to imagine human civilization advancing as it did without the institution of banking. The convenience, security, and cheap access to credit that banks offer have powered the world’s economic engine and oiled the march of society into modernity.
Yet what’s even more difficult to imagine is that some 3.5 billion people across the world are still shut out of the benefits of banking. Most of such individuals belong to low-income brackets in developing markets, although some developed countries also grapple with the problem of a large number of their citizens unable to access financial services of banks.
Not being able to tap into savings and credit, the unbanked practically have no way of benefiting from the trickle-down effects of economic growth. For many, this exclusion means a life sentence of poverty.
One of the biggest hurdles preventing people from opening accounts is identity verification, compounded by illiteracy. With regulators leaning on banks to know their customers, the absence of IDs can throw a monkey-wrench into financial inclusion efforts.
Fortunately, biometrics is rapidly shaping up to be a cost-effective, convenient and reliable solution to prove identity, thereby providing the means to usher millions into the financial fold.
Fingerprint capture technology, for example, is proving to be one of the most effective ways to enroll illiterate individuals who now no longer have to produce signatures, key in passwords, or present ID cards.
In only a decade, biometrics has already done much for the cause of financial inclusion. The challenge facing biometrics companies now is to keep up with enrolling larger and larger number of unbanked individuals across varied geographies. Leading biometric companies like Aratek, for example, have been hard at work developing hardware and software that can be deployed in rugged terrains and under the most punishing weather conditions, where a great number of the unbanked are found.
The company has recently acquired its third FBI PIV Mobile ID FAP 20 certification, a distinction conferred on biometric hardware that pass the agency’s stringent tests on image quality, usability of output, and inter-operability — important features in implementing demanding biometric projects.
As the drive to narrow the banking gap intensifies, the biometrics industry will find itself being thrust into an even more important position in the coming years.
Aratek is a global leader in biometrics and securities industry. We empower governments, law enforcement agencies, banks, retailers and other enterprises to solve their identity management challenges through biometrics. Aratek provides software and hardware products for biometric fingerprint, face, finger vein recognition. Aratek’s products are used for both civil and forensic applications, including border crossings, criminal investigations, national ID programs, voter registration, verification and duplication checking, passport issuance and other national-scale projects.