Super apps—what are they exactly?
It is an all-inclusive mobile app that offers a variety of services and functions, enabling users to complete different tasks within the app rather than needing numerous other apps. Imagine having access to a single app that does everything from booking travel to ordering groceries to paying rent and reviewing job documents. Picture yourself planning your annual trip to Iceland while also paying your friend your portion at that swanky Mediterranean restaurant.
Super apps have revolutionized the tech industry, with companies like WeChat, Alipay, and Grab already dominating the Asian market and expanding into the West. The demand for all-in-one apps that offer multiple services has become so fierce that even tech giants like Uber, PayPal, and Facebook are racing to create their own super apps to meet customer needs. As the competition intensifies, the world is witnessing a new era of app development that could change the way we use our phones forever.
To prevent tech giants from taking over the American market, banks have proactively joined the game instead of remaining on the sidelines. To retain their existing customer base while attracting new ones, banks have realized that offering a diverse range of services on their mobile platforms is essential.
All of this is done to compete for the desired position of being one of the average user’s 9–10 regular apps and appearing on their home screen. Additionally, customers who use a bank’s app more frequently get to know them (or at least their data) better. More data means a better understanding of when to provide what goods and services and how to improve the entire customer journey.
Super Apps’ Data Security and Privacy
Risk management against fraudsters must be at the forefront of development, even though the expanding super app trend is very exciting for improving the user experience and company bottom lines. In comparison to a single-purpose app, a super app carries a much higher risk of attack.
Compared to a single-purpose app, super apps are a treasure of information, making them much more attractive for criminals if they can gain access. Contact lists, IP addresses, chat histories, web search keywords, bank information, transactions, and more are just a few examples of the sensitive personal identity information that super apps gather.
Super apps were created to incorporate and rely significantly on external, third-party services like mobile wallets, loyalty programs, and money transfers. The use or protection of a person’s data by these third parties is subject to little or no control. Each merchant and technical partner linked to the super app has a different policy regarding the storage and sharing of customer information.
When all these apps are combined, there is a higher risk of API exposure, potential incompatibility with security models, and data leakage. Super apps cannot ensure that they are being used by a real person on a real device, just like any other software. There are numerous ways to hack into the system and gain access to these separately functioning parts.
Increasing the Level of Security in Super Apps
Malware attacks on mobile devices are rising. Typically, banking trojans are made to steal individual login credentials, banking information, and credit card details. Compared to the prior year, attacks on Android devices increased by 80% in 2021, according to data from Nokia.
Generally speaking, many banks are still unprepared for mobile risks. Banks are subjecting themselves and their customers to more dangers by entering the super app sector. Banks must improve the security of their mobile apps by implementing new biometric authentication technology and techniques to effectively launch the first financial super app in the United States.
The best option for protecting a company’s apps from fraud and attacks is multi-factor and passwordless authentication. The drawback of increased security is that it may significantly interfere with user use of the app, even to the point of abandoning it. Super applications must find a balance between security and usability if businesses are to provide flawless customer experiences.
Utilizing Biometrics to Find a Balance
Nowadays, it’s common for anyone with a smartphone to be able to log in using their face or fingerprint. The utilization of these distinctive biological characteristics as a method of identity authentication and verification is known as biometrics. In recent years, biometrics has expanded to encompass increasingly sophisticated physical (such as retina, vein patterns) and behavioral (such as gestures, keystrokes, and signatures) signs to confirm and validate a person’s identity. Biometrics are becoming the preferred security solution as they become less expensive and more secure.
Super app security follows the same philosophy. An additional layer of user authentication is offered by biometric verification without the need for needless friction. IT leaders are likewise confident in the technology and believe that within the next ten years it will overtake other authentication techniques for financial transactions. It’s essential to minimize the trade-off between fraud, security, and customer satisfaction. For super apps, it’s super security.
Biometric Data’s Negative Aspects
For good reason, the use of biometric information in daily life can lead to anxiety in some people. It is becoming more and more clear that biometric technologies, such as facial recognition technology, have significant racial and demographic biases.
Even a machine learning operation that is algorithm-based is susceptible to bias. When you think about how an automated biometric system functions, it becomes clear. An image is captured by a capture device (like a camera), which is then sent to signal processing algorithms to extract regions of interest and differentiating features (like a face) to assess the sample’s quality.
After that, algorithms for comparison and decision-making determine how closely the sample resembles an image or template that was previously saved in a database. Sadly, a lot of those databases are not diverse. These programs have been shown to have some bias toward particular groups of people, such as women, people of certain ethnicities, and young people. This may result in customers being improperly denied access to crucial banking services, including credit cards, insurance policies, and loans.
Though it has pros and cons, biometric technology is bringing digital identity and protection into the future. To account for these constantly evolving algorithms, the most efficient biometric technologies must be combined with other forms of verification, such as document authentication.
The Future of Super App Security
Customers are demanding more functionality, convenience, and security from their apps as they use their smartphones more frequently and spend more time online. Banks and other financial service providers will need to protect the security and privacy of customer data, whether they elect to build their own super apps or collaborate with businesses already engaged in the super app development process.
A cybercriminal’s dream is the concentration of financial services within a few key apps. But with solutions for multi-factor or multimodal biometric authentication like biometrics, it will be very difficult to breach the security. A super app’s strength must come from both its thoughtful security methods and its usability, not just one or the other. Without it, neither businesses nor customers can firmly believe that these all-in-one platforms will improve the overall journey and digital experience.
To learn more about how FTx Identity can help your business, get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation and demo.