Biometrics represents the key to safer mobile payments in the future

Biometrics represents the key to safer mobile payments in the future

It is not some outlandish project. Biometrics does represent the future of the payment industry, imposing itself as the safest method possible. Indeed, what can be more secure than authenticating your identity by using your own physical body amidst payment frauds, theft, breaches, and hacking?

The need for increased security is pushing biometrics into the limelight

The demand for higher levels of security has urged the payment industry to look for innovative and safer methods to grapple with breaches and frauds. Naturally, the search for safer authentication systems led to biometrics as it is really unlikely that someone can manage to fake or replicate a physical identity. As such, it represents a great potential for safer authentication techniques. However, biometrics has not been thoroughly tested yet in this field.

Biometrics expected to secure over half of all mobile payments by 2020

A recent report released by Acuity Market Intelligence has estimated that by 2020, mobile biometrics should be securing around 65 percent of all mobile transactions. These transactions are expected to generate annual revenues of more than 34 billion dollars. Another report by BI Intelligence, on its side, forecasts that by 2021, 99 percent of US smartphones will be biometrics-enabled. Juniper Research has equally estimated that by 2019, there will be 770 million biometric authentication apps that will be downloaded annually.

Despite the fact that EuroPay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) chip cards already offer a higher level of security compared to magnetic stripe cards, savvier hackers are always finding loopholes and new means to exploit safeguards. Hence, biometrics represents yet another authentication security benchmark as it concerns the use of body parts instead of pin codes and passwords that are being rendered ridiculously irrelevant nowadays by hackers. The new dimension of security in biometrics will undeniably make it very hard to steal and duplicate data from cards.  

Growing trends regarding biometrics authentication systems

The payment industry is aware that using physical features for authentication is a way to maximize security. Various testing is being carried out and it is worth noting that biometrics is extended beyond the simple use of fingerprints. Voice, face, and iris validation are also key elements for the development of biometrics authentication systems for payment. Several giants are already pioneering in this domain:

  • MasterCard is testing facial recognition technology
  • Alibaba is considering the use of selfies and facial recognition
  • Samsung Pay is testing fingerprints, voice and iris recognition
  • Apple Pay already allows fingerprint authorization

Biometrics has its own set of scary disadvantages

If biometrics does represent an unmatched level of security, if stolen, it likewise represents an unequivocal level of risk. It would be worse than having a fraudster steal your credit card number as with biometrics data, the latter will have those permanent biological identifiers that cannot be altered or changed in any manner. If a consumer is using a smartphone camera for verification purposes and has his device stolen, no one will be able to stop the thief from using stored images or videos. Other issues have also emerged, such as legal concerns over the storage and usage of biometric data by carriers.

Consumers are excited to embrace biometrics

According to a research by Visa, two out of three consumers are eager to use biometrics for transactions in Europe. More than 75 percent of participants in the survey believe that biometrics authentication system is secure if coupled with other security systems. As such, despite bottlenecks in the development and integration of biometrics systems in the payment industry, it is observed that the trends are indicating that this biometrics may indeed represent the core of payments in the near future.

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