A close-up photo of a person’s eye, in the center of and surrounded by a transparent circle of rectangles, bar charts, pie charts, and business-like icons. The iris changes from gray to bright blue, symbolizing the power of biometrics.
As business customers have become more comfortable with new consumer technology, many now use mobile banking biometrics like eyeprint recognition.
August 29, 2018

The eyes have it: Empowering business customers with biometrics

Amid growing demand for the latest mobile banking technologies, Wells Fargo is providing its business customers biometric tools such as eyeprint recognition.

After gazing into her smartphone for it to recognize her eyeprint, Lisa Killer accessed her corporate bank account, approved a wire transfer, and authorized a payroll check — all in a matter of minutes.

This was her first experience with mobile banking biometrics, and it happened while riding back to the office with a colleague after attending a convention, said Killer, manager of treasury operations for Ravago Americas, a Wells Fargo business customer in Orlando, Florida. The company is a distributor and reseller of branded plastics, rubber, and chemicals worldwide.

“My friend who was driving thought I was crazy,” she said. “I just looked at my phone, set up the eyeprint feature, and logged into the bank to get my work done. It was all so easy and entertaining. For a while, I was showing everyone at the office how it works.”

Across the U.S., many banks are now providing their business customers with the latest in mobile banking technology, such as biometrics, which allows them to access their account using eyeprint or fingerprint recognition instead of a password or electronic token.

Biometric authentication allows business customers to access their bank account using eyeprint or fingerprint recognition instead of a password or electronic token.

Industry analysts say banks are responding to the growing demand from business customers for more robust digital financial tools that provide the same convenience they have become used to outside the business environment.

“Five years ago … the consumer experience was a fraction of what it is now,” said Alenka Grealish, a senior analyst for Celent, in a recent article in American Banker. “But we as consumers now are used to quick, easy, convenient digital interfaces.”

These interfaces are especially helpful to business customers who work on the go.

“A lot of times when you’re deep in transit, being able to use a device to keep up with your workflow is welcome,” she said.

At Wells Fargo, the number of commercial customers using its CEO Mobile® business banking app has increased dramatically in the first six months of 2018 from the same period last year — much of that increase coming after the Eyeprint ID feature was introduced in April, said Secil Watson, head of the digital solutions for business team.

“We put the highest priority on using innovation and technology to make life and business better for our customers,” Watson said. “The response to mobile eyeprint access has been outstanding — just the kind of results that we always want to see when we bring innovation out of the lab and into the hands of our customers.”

On the right is a photo of Lisa Killer of Ravago Americas. She has brown wavy hair and a pleasant smile. In a different photo (left), she sits at a conference table, holding her phone, and looking at the screen, which displays an image of her eyes.
Lisa Killer, right, uses biometric eyeprint recognition to access her Ravago Americas corporate bank account. 
Photo: Richard Burnett

Feedback from business customers who use the eyeprint technology has been overwhelmingly positive, said Keri Salem, a Wells Fargo commercial account consultant whose clients include Ravago and its treasury management team headed by Killer.

“Whenever Lisa has to be out the office, she can stay connected to all the money transfers and other daily financial needs of the business,” Salem said. “Her team has a lot of deadlines to meet and she relies on mobile to get things done. She loves the biometrics on her phone since it helps her do her job that much more efficiently.”

The convenience factor of mobile biometrics can’t be overstated, said Killer, who described herself as an early adopter of new technology. If she’s in a meeting or at a conference, for example, she doesn’t need to have a laptop, digital token, or password to reach her account and authorize a money transfer, she said. It can be done quickly and quietly, all on her smartphone.

“I’m a real experimenter,” Killer said. “I like to try out new technology, see how it works and what it can do for me. Whenever I have a banking question, I’ll check out every possible option first, before calling the bank. And all the digital tools that Wells Fargo gives customers now make it a lot easier to figure things out and get things done.”