Banks, insurance companies, and emerging FinTechs should put identity first when thinking about a strategy of how to build an infrastructure, according to Bianca Lopes, chief identity officer at Toronto-based BioConnect.
Speaking at the latest FinTechTO, Lopes said with approximately 7.5 billion people in the world, and the amount of devices and platforms people use, it can be challenging for companies to understand the real identity of their customers. Consequently, banks, FinTechs, and other players may not be able to offer the best value to their target users.
“I urge you to understand that identity Is a concept that is building trust.”
“How do you look at, what is a device? What is a user? What is the identity? How do I connect or communicate or offer value in this very growing sort of crazy chaos?” asked Lopes, adding that it’s crucial to prioritize identity because it helps companies better understand who they’re building products and services for.
“Really, the reason why I called myself a chief identity officer is because I wanted to be able to enable financial service technologies, or banks or insurance companies, to have an understanding that in the middle of this chaos is actually humans that you’re building your product for,” said Lopes.
According to Lopes, FinTechs that are integrating financial tools into their platforms, and banks that are trying to innovate are missing a key component to their infrastructure: a lack of understanding of human identity. In her presentation, Lopes gave the example of a six-year-old who ordered a dollhouse and six pounds of sugar cookies from her mother’s device to make a point that we never really know if the actual human owner of a device is the person using it.
“The reason why you’re Instagram can give you better recommendations than your bank is because they don’t understand the identity of the human they’re trying to communicate it.”
Lopes believes this lack of understanding identity and the humans using your technology creates a unique challenge for banks and FinTechs, which is why she urges putting identity first.
“When you’re thinking about a strategy of how to build an infrastructure, whether that’s a platform, whether that’s a service, I urge you to put identity first,” said Lopes. “I urge you to understand that identity is a concept that is building trust. In the future, how are you going to to be able to monetize and understand the data of the human you’re trying to interact with?”
Ultimately, Lopes said it comes down to data, and whether data about users is actually valuable for companies, especially when the user might not even be the target customer.
“The reason why your Instagram can give you better recommendations than your bank is because [the bank doesn’t] understand the identity of the human they’re trying to communicate it,” said Lopes. “The interesting thing I often to talk to people [about] is that the data produced out there is the data that comes from when you think it’s me. What if it’s not? What if it’s my six-year-old? What decision are you going to make based on that?”
Watch the full presentation below:
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Photo credit Mirna Chacin