NAB's UBank to launch computer-verified account

USaver Ultra can be set up without human interaction

National Australia Bank (NAB) staff are trialling a transaction account called UBank USaver Ultra which can be applied for and verified without human interaction.

UBank is a subsidiary of NAB. According to the bank, customers will apply for the account online.

An internal systems engine called Know Your Customer will check passport, driver’s licenses and other types of identification via an automatic database.

NAB's executive general manager of IT transformation, Adam Bennett, said the account will be launched to UBank customers in coming months and offers straight-through processing for the first time.

“The transaction account will offer a simpler and enhanced customer experience in a sign of things to come for customer self-service,” he said in a statement.

The account will run on NAB’s NextGen core banking platform. The banking platform is part of a 10-year business transformation initiative to modernise the bank's IT systems. NAB is currently three years into the transformation and expects to save $800 million annually as a result.

UBank has been operating on NextGen since August 2012 when 30,000 customers where migrated across.

This is not the first time UBank has offered an account which can be set up without human interaction. In 2009, it launched a USaver account which could authenticate users without sighting documents.

According to IDC Australia's senior market analyst, Vern Hue, verification without using human interaction will be just as good as bank accounts that use human interaction.

“Banks are trying to roll out technology that would best appeal to their customers as an increasing amount of us are moving towards a mobile platform, hence, user experience is vital,” he said.

“I don't think too many of us would be happy to sit around to wait while we get authenticated by an agent over the phone, hence the logic behind the move towards technologies which do not require human interaction.”

Hue said that biometrics based authentication has some key advantages over knowledge and token based authentication in that it matches a physical attribute of a user.

However, he added that UBank could not totally eliminate the human touch. For example, if the validation is not successful, the end user should be redirected to a technical support team to identify the person's identity.

Turning to the security aspect of the bank's automatic database, Hue said that it would be more difficult for criminals to falsify or set up fake accounts.

“Advanced analytical tools will be able to correlate and predict anomalies in the paperwork and information by looking at [customer] relationships.”

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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