Evolution of biometrics in payment transactions

Biometric technology has become a crucial part of daily life for many people around the world. With the integration with mobile devices, many of us are interacting with some form of biometric authentication or the other every day. In 2017 alone, 65% of consumers reported that they are at least familiar with biometrics. With this big uptake in familiarity and usage, it’s no surprise to see a rise in the number of transactions that are now authenticated using biometric technology.

Consumers have begun to see several benefits of using biometrics as a form of authentication. Being able to authenticate your Google Pay or Apple Pay using biometric authentication (facial recognition or fingerprint) means that the payment process is much faster while shopping online. In a Visa survey, consumers also felt that biometric authentication was more secure than a PIN or password. Biometric authentication is unique to every individual. It can’t be easily replicated or stolen and consumers felt it was a unique way of confirming their identity.

Along with ease and security, there are a lot of reasons to authenticate payments using biometric methods. Ease of use, speed, mobility, and future-proofing are some of them. Biometrics is a unique and personal way of identifying individuals. With this approach, there is no need to remember multiple PINs and passwords. While it may be fairly undetectable, authenticating using a biometric feature is faster and easier than entering a password or pin. This is beneficial for both the consumer as well as businesses, with the transaction made much more straightforward by the adoption of biometric authentication for payments. As retail outlets move to a contactless payment model, the acceptance of consumers choosing to pay using Apple or Google Pay on their mobile devices and authorizing with biometrics means that you can make a payment anywhere, anytime. 

What can we expect in the future?

There is no doubt that the world is heading towards biometric authentication for payment-related transactions. While the USA and Europe are frequently seen as innovators, it’s India who leads the league when it comes to the adoption of biometric methods for payments. We currently have over 1.2 billion citizens who have established a digital identity with the government. When we go on to analyze what facial recognition might look like in the future, one such use is facial recognition for complete contactless payment. Credit card details would be associated with your facial recognition profile and payments will be made just by presenting your face. This technique is already under development in Japan and Taiwan where staff less stores are being introduced. Here, customers can do everything from accessing the store to making a payment using face recognition. As we step into the year 2020, we await to see an even greater turn out of biometric technology as a way of authenticating payments. Biometric technology is continually improving and developing, both in terms of speed and accuracy, and this is helping to break down any potential barriers for consumers and inculcate a sense of security and easefulness with this form of payment authentication.


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