Wells Fargo will soon roll out eyeprint verification for its commercial customers using its mobile banking platform.
The $1.6 trillion-asset bank plans to deploy Eyeprint ID software by the end of the second quarter, Angenette Maniego Lau, a spokeswoman for the bank, confirmed Wednesday. The offering will allow commercial customers to replace their Wells Fargo token if they choose.
The software reads pictures of the users' eyes, which they take with their smartphones, and translates veins and other physical detailing in the images into digital codes that are matched against a stored template. Once users are authenticated at sign-on, they do not have to repeat the action unless their session times out.
Lau said the investment in this biometric feature came as a direct result of customers asking for a simpler and more secure way to authenticate themselves than carrying several hard tokens.
"We asked what else could we do to help make their lives easier, and one of the customers stood up and reached into every pocket he had with handful of hard tokens in each," she recalled from a customer panel Wells hosted two years ago. Because most companies bank with several institutions, it's common to have a hard token for each of them. Some even have a token for each account of business.
Wells has been mentoring EyeVerify, the biometric security technology startup that developed the software, since August 2014, when it joined the bank's fintech accelerator as a member of its inaugural class. The San Francisco-based bank also contributed an undisclosed amount to the startup's $6 million funding round as part of the program.
The bank will continue offering consumers and corporate customers the option to enter a typed password until biometrics are more widely integrated and used more easily across mobile devices and desktop and laptop computers, Lau said.