Knowledge-based authentication has its weaknesses.

The dramatic increase in remote interactions with consumers over the past few decades has presented financial institutions – credit unions included – with the growing challenge of determining how to quickly and safely authenticate their members and customers. While online contact channels have made significant progress in improving authentication, phone channels continue to lag behind, with many organizations still subjecting callers to time-consuming and unsafe identity interrogation.

Many credit unions, whether they contract with a call center or use in-house staff, ask members to prove they are who they say they are by demonstrating knowledge of private information, such as their mother’s maiden name and Social Security number. This knowledge-based authentication (KBA) method takes time and members dislike having to answer these identity questions every time they pick up the phone, especially if they have to go through the process more than once for the same issue during the same call.

When they call their credit union, they just want to have their questions answered or problems solved, without having to jump through hoops. What’s more, the interrogation procedure – asking, essentially, “Do I know you?” – is often at odds with the atmosphere of trust that local credit unions try to create with their members.

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