Payments Leader

Identity Fraud: The Battle Continues

October 17, 2018

Esther Pigg, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy FIS Payments Division

In today’s world of digital commerce, consumers expect to be able to bank and shop anytime, anywhere, but as we migrate to online and mobile channels, the potential for fraud and identity theft grows exponentially. Fortunately, recent advances in authentication technology have made it easier for banks and businesses to confirm that their customers are who they say they are and should have access to the things they want.

Opening the Digital Door

Customer expectations are evolving. Password fatigue has set in as people become overwhelmed with the ever-growing matrix of login IDs and passwords and they have become increasingly uncomfortable with sharing personal information repeatedly across multiple websites. So, when businesses apply additional security checks, consumers see this as inconvenient “friction” and may abandon account opening or a transaction altogether. Does there always have to be this trade-off between consumer convenience and security?

All in Context

A single, digital identity that offers simplicity and convenience, as well as increased security for all digital transactions is key. For a consumer, that typically combines three elements: a person’s individual identity, a device such as a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, and personal patterns when banking and shopping online. When all these factors are brought together as one unique credential, the result is unparalleled confidence in the true authentication of the consumer. The consumer only needs to register once and then use the digital ID wherever they bank or shop.

Deep authentication then happens behind the scenes, whenever a consumer accesses their account or makes a payment online.Algorithms evaluate geolocation, network velocity, and behavioral patterns to determine the potential for fraud in real time. They determine whether a device has been used safely before and whether it has been associated with a specific user. This rich contextual authentication gives the consumer the ability to sign-in to participating business websites without needing a password. They simply present the digital ID to be authenticated – although, in the case of higher-risk transactions, additional security steps such as fingerprints, iris scans, and voice recognition can be used.

Smarter Together

The use of a single digital ID that provides reliable identification across multiple participating businesses brings more than just peace of mind. As more transactions are conducted at different businesses, machine learning techniques improve the algorithms and increase the confidence in the authentication. The digital identity network continually delivers insights back to participating businesses, and continuously learns and improves with each authentication and interaction – growing stronger and smarter as more consumers and businesses participate. This shared intelligence acts as a frontline defense to detect and stop fraud.

An added benefit to participating businesses: easier customer onboarding means fewer customers abandon the application or transaction due to complex sign-up or forgotten passwords. Revenues grow and costs decrease when password resets are done away with.

Rethinking Authentication

Digital identities can lead to a complete rethinking of the traditional authentication paradigm. The endless stream of filling out forms and sharing sensitive personal information could soon be outdated. Consumers could soon forget their never-ending list of login IDs and passwords. This hyper-know your customer approach to multi-factor authentication provides the weapons we all need to fight back against the ever-escalating cyber threats.


Esther Pigg, JD

Senior Vice President | Product Strategy FIS Payments Division

Esther leads the Product Strategy team for the Payments division of FIS that spans debit, prepaid, credit card, merchant, network and loyalty programs. With extensive experience across the banking and payments technology industry, Esther focuses her team on developing long term product strategy for U.S. and global retail payment products to effectively engage the markets FIS serves.