This morning we welcomed Jaume Esteve, IT Director of Arquia Banca, to our offices in Barcelona. Jaume came to talk to us about the Caja de Arquitectos’ commitment to innovation. In addition to finding out about their latest major advance, the use of facial biometrics with FacePhi technology for logging in to their app, we were able to learn more about the interesting world of innovation and to find out first-hand more about Arquia Banca’s plans.
What need were you seeking to meet at Arquia Banca when you came up with the idea about implementing face recognition in your app.
It wasn’t a need as such. It was a commitment to offer more innovation to our customers. It is true, though, that user security is much improved with the facial recognition application.
You have selected FacePhi, a Spanish technology from Alicante. Are there many companies developing technology in this type of market?
There are a number of other companies, but FacePhi specialises in the technology and they were looking for a bank to work with, so it was easy for us to reach an agreement. In Spain there is still no other bank app which allows access via facial recognition. There are some banks using them in some countries in Latin America, where there is more fraud. They are also using FacePhi, and that influenced our decision. We wanted a company with experience in the sector.
So, how does it work? What parameters does the facial recognition system take into account?
What it uses is a matrix of points. It doesn’t take a photo in the normal sense of the word. What it looks for are contrast points on the image. It creates a kind of science fiction figure. Using the points, it draws the face, but it doesn’t keep the colour, just a series of bits which tells it the distance between the eyes, what size they are, and so on. It does the same with all the distinguishing features of the face.
The tool stores a number of patterns so that when you log in there is always something which matches up. While it doesn’t matter if you are wearing glasses or not, it won’t work if you are wearing sunglasses or a hat.
What are the steps the user has to follow to log in to the app with Selphie
On the main screen they can choose their log in method: traditional or facial recognition. For the customer to register with facial recognition, the device has to be registered first. This is to ensure double security. Then access to the camera is requested and the user is invited to make a series of movements until the system has recorded all the patterns it requires and stored them in its database. The procedure is simple and similar to registering one’s fingerprint on a smartphone.
How well has the system been greeted by Arquia Banca customers?
There are currently 3267 people who have registered on the app using facial biometrics, around 20% of downloads. This trend has been going up steadily since it was launched in mid-October.
Finally, what other innovations would you like to implement in the future?
We would like to pilot the same biometrics tool in an office, so that when someone walks through the door, we know who it is and they see us as leaders in innovation who can give them a personalized service. Our intention is to be a bank which is highly advanced technologically.
Written by Maria Gallego