SEPT 2017: Samaha & Associates CEO Sabeh Samaha Featured in Credit Union Management article: Who’s There? As relationships go digital, CUs step up authentication to safely serve members they can’t see or hear.

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SEPT 2017: Samaha & Associates CEO Sabeh Samaha featured in Credit Union Management

Who’s There? As relationships go digital, CUs step up authentication to safely serve members they can’t see or hear.

By Richard H. Gamble

“Proving a digital message is truly coming from a member trying to make a legitimate transaction is complicated. Identity verification has to accommodate many scenarios these days.

Escalating fraud protection to stay a step ahead of fraudsters does carry its own risk: frustrated members. Security is bolstered by layering multiple authentication technologies, notes consultant Sabeh Samaha, president/CEO of Samaha & Associates (ssamaha.com), Chino Hills, Calif., but this could upset the critical balance between security and member convenience. “Each CU has to find its own balancing point, based on its membership and risk tolerance,” staying fairly close to the middle and addressing issues by leaning a little one way or the other, he explains…

Member authentication technology is getting more sophisticated quickly, which means CU executives have to keep picking the best of the available solutions. However, as a practical matter, they generally pick the vendors that pick the technology tools, Samaha observes. That requires due diligence, possibly including requests for proposals and a detailed selection of new vendors, he adds. Adequate authentication is usually provided by familiar CU processors, although fintech companies are starting to enter this space, he notes…

Will such authentication ever be foolproof? Not likely, Samaha says. “It’s a constant process to stay ahead of the fraudsters,” he notes. “Leaders now are authenticating via member devices, but a device will one day be digitally mimicked. Biometrics are emerging on the leading edge, but a… anything digitally stored can be stolen.” Where do we go from there? It could be a computer chip implanted under the skin of the member, he speculates.”

Richard H. Gamble is a freelance writer based in Colorado

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