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Someone to watch over you

Rob Leiponis

Near-field communication technology is helping branches create a personal service for customers from the moment they enter the door. Rob Leiponis, responsible for Self-Service and Security Solutions at Parabit Systems, explains how.

Originally published by:

Fintech Finance


We are all used to being monitored by closed circuit TV when we enter a bank branch.

But we are on the verge of mobile phones heralding our arrival – so staff can give us a tailor-made experience.

Near-Field Communication (NFC) is the next generation of security and communication in banking. It allows the exchange of data between two devices in close proximity, providing a much more secure transfer of data and blowing open new opportunities for mobile banking and a more personalized customer experience.

Rob Leiponis, who is immersed in security and self-service solutions at US-based Parabit Systems, launched a new Multi Media Reader (MMR) in August. It utilizes NFC to interface with mobile devices and contactless EMV cards, as well as traditional Mag Stripe cards for customers to more securely gain access to ATM lobbies and vestibules outside of standard operating hours.

“One of our biggest customers, Bank of America, is in the process of outfitting every one of its ATM lobbies and vestibules throughout the US with our MMR reader.”

There is also an MMR version with embedded beacon technology. Although currently dormant, when activated once software development is finalized and deployed, it will utilize BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to open up customer behavior with your branch tracking, thereby supporting new cross-selling opportunities and the chance to boost customer loyalty.

“Banks in the US have always tried to get branch personnel to cross-sell consumers coming to teller windows to cash a cheque or make a deposit. Beacon technology will allow them to do this in a much more informed and relevant way.”

Parabit is developing MMR beacon features that connect customers through their banks mobile app, and provide personalized customer information to bank personnel.

“For example Banks can identify a customer who has a significant amount of money in a simple savings account – staff may want to start a dialogue between that customer and one of the investment bankers,” says Leiponis. “Staff can be trained how to interpret data to better position themselves and their products to effectively meet the specific needs of each customer.”

Through the Beacon within the MMR, Retail Banking would also be able to monitor customer movement within the branch as well as track customer dwell time. Monitoring these behaviour patterns will inform educate retail banking while they form their customer sales strategies.

“In the US we’re seeing a massive push by financial institutions to develop multiple touch-points involving mobile and Beacon technology to be able to monitor the behaviour of customers entering ATM lobbies and branch retail stores,” says Leiponis.

Near Field Communication (NFC) is the next generation of security and communication in banking

Surveillance and security

The secure and mobile possibilities presented by NFC are gaining traction at a time when technology has driven banks to strategize on how the modern branch should look and feel to meet the needs of today’s consumer. This topic of branch transformation has been an area of great strategy and debate across the industry.

“I see the future branch environment catering to the traditional banking customer with many engagement touch points but also serving as a platform to transition into a more mobile, more independent banking relationship, where branch staff will engage with customers via a mobile device or through online banking via PC or tablet.”

“We perform anywhere between 1,500 to 2,000 equipment conversions/installations a year for various commercial, savings banks and credit unions,” he says. “We see a large increase in the investment of technology that is placed in access areas that go beyond traditional banking hours.

Leiponis says that local branches remain a vital component for banks – they display the physical brand presence within communities while also providing the reassurance of financial strength and stability. But with pressure to keep staff costs and other overheads at a minimum, automation is crucial.

“We’re working with some clients that are investigating a smaller branch footprint where there is technology within a larger ATM lobby,” says Leiponis.

“Bank branches that used to be 2,000 square feet are now 750 - 1,000 square feet. There may be a small vestibule with a second entry where a customer can video conference with a banking representative to open an account, or apply for a loan, or pay a bill.”

It’s important for banks to evaluate all types of self-service touch points, however those areas must be hardened so they can be utilized in a 24-hour environment. “Parabit is all about accessorizing the self-service environment, as well as securing it,” says Leiponis.

“Parabit is all about accessorising the self-service environment, as well as securing it.” - Rob Leiponis

Multimedia Reader (MMR) interacting with mobile device
Open sesame: Access to ATM lobbies can be controlled

Parabit’s ATM Lobby Card Access Control System serves as a facilities management system that ensures the area is not coming under attack or being misused. Tamper alerts, motion sensors, light sensors and specialty surveillance cameras all work together to keep bank personnel informed of standard processes and threats, as well as to ensure a smooth customer experience. Additional software features streamline and centralize daily functions including hours of operation and holiday schedules, as well as provide custom settings for high risk locations.

Patented SkimGard™ technology mitigates card reader risk to the one billion in annual skimming losses, while RFID reader skimming detection is also utilized on their MMR card reader. Leiponis states that NFC technology is the most secure multi-level platform for transaction authentication and are being embraced by both banks and retailers.

“A lot of background processes have been implemented within banking systems to monitor multiple transactions from a perspective of where the consumer is,” says Leiponis. “This, too, is also one of the benefits of utilising NFC on your mobile device. If you’re authenticating a transaction on your mobile device, your location can be identified through triangulation. So, if another transaction occurs halfway around the world, it can be detected and denied.”

NFC technology is the most secure multi-level platform for transaction authentication and are being embraced by both banks and retailers.

Another security measure Leiponis believes provides huge potential for banking – facial recognition.

Parabit has developed a high-resolution camera for bank teller windows which has virtually stopped ‘note passing’ crime at banks that have implemented them – whereby a criminal passes a scrap of paper with a written note, threatening the teller and demanding cash.

The camera is specially mounted to the teller’s barrier glass serves as a powerful deterrent. And if a criminal does go ahead with a robbery it is likely they will be identified and caught.

Leiponis says Parabit has equipped 1,500 teller windows with the camera for one particular bank. But he says such cameras can be used to scan faces and identify them in the same way NFC phone technology can.

Parabit has been delivering security solutions for banking, retail, aviation and government sectors since 1995.

“We’re working with the airline industry on a similar platform, but facial recognition is also a very powerful tool to be utilised in the banking community,” he says.

“Through a very high resolution camera, with facial recognition applications built into it, you can monitor your customers walking into your branches and identify them.”

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