HSBC will soon let its business customers open a bank account with nothing more than a selfie, as it claims that facial recognition tools are good enough now that you can't trick them with a printed out photo of the Queen and walk off with a £2bn overdraft.
Obviously it's not going to be that easy. Obviously. It'll actually be as hard as negotiating the terms of an exit from a common trade treaty. The mobile app will indeed ask to take a selfie for verification that you're in posession of the phone and face in question, but there's then going to be quite a bit of tedium involved in uploading some other form of photographic ID already approved by important people -- like your passport pic or photographic driving licence -- from which the app will attempt to check if the supplied selfie face matches the valid ID face.
Then when it inevitably doesn't work, there'll probably be a helpline to call, where you'll be put on hold, made to listen to The Corrs, transferred to the wrong department, will have forgotten the telephone banking password you set in 2002, get cut off for no reason and so on and so forth. You're best off keeping cash flattened out under the carpet.
HSBC's commercial banking boss Richard Davies said: "Through simplifying the ID verification process, we’ll be able to save our business customers time and open accounts quicker. 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." Independent]