HSBC customers will soon be able to confirm their identities using their smartphones’ cameras with a new “selfie verification” feature.

The function, which will be available to business customers through the bank’s Android and iOS apps, checks the images against documents like driving licences and passports.

The software can verify documents from 150 countries, and if the two match, HSBC says customers will be able to open new accounts using selfies to confirm their identities.

“Through simplifying the ID verification process, we’ll save our business customers time and open accounts quicker,” global propositions boss Richard Davies told The Independent.

“We also expect the convenience and speed of a selfie to become the verification method of choice for our customers, who no longer need to visit a branch to complete the process.”

The feature is reflective of a wider move towards biometric authentication by banks and other online account providers, and was welcomed by cyber security experts.

“Today’s announcement from HSBC affirms the idea that banks are showing more support for biometric authentication than ever before,” said Yoti CTO Paco Garcia.

“Nationwide, for example, recently announced a move into behavioural biometrics, while MasterCard plans to introduce selfie authentication. In fact, HSBC had already announced its intent to offer voice recognition earlier this year.

“Selfie authentication is the next logical step, especially when anchored to a government issued document such as a passport.”

He added that although it is yet to been seen how successful such features will be, 92 per cent of people preferred biometric systems to passwords in a test by MasterCard.

In a recent survey by Visa, 60 per cent of European customers said they would like to use biometrics when they pay for products and services. 73 per cent of those questioned said they believe that biometric authentication combined with a payment method is a secure system.

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