BBVA Customers Can Now Open an Account with Selfie Identification

Spanish banking giant BBVA is now offering customers the ability to open an account with nothing more than their mobile phone. All new clients need do is use the app to set up the account then verify their ID through face recognition.

If the selfie sent in matches their photo ID, then a more rigorous security check that includes a video call begins to finish the process. But the key feature is that this can all be done through mobile — a big step forward in an age when so many digital natives are coming of age to set up an account.

“We know our customers value their time and like to do everything through their cell phones,” said Cristina de Parias, head of BBVA Spain.

This is just the latest release by banks in Europe in what is clearly a growing trend to make mobile services and customer support easier, faster, and better.

Barclays recently announced that it is phasing out the old security methods in favor of voice biometrics. A person’s voice is as unique as their fingerprint, according to the bank, and the company’s new technology will be able to identify a person within their first few words on the phone.

Voice biometrics, which can instantly analyze the more than 100 characteristics that comprise the “physical configuration of the speaker’s mouth and throat,” will make the service both more secure and quicker to use. Barclays says that its records show that forgetting a security password can add two minutes — or more — to call wait times. This is good for neither the customer nor the bank.

“We can all relate to the frustration of forgetting a password at the crucial moment,” said Steven Cooper, CEO of personal banking at Barclays. “Voice security can cut out that part of the call completely and, unlike a password, each person’s voice is as unique as a fingerprint.”

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