Biometrics as a Means of Payment

Recent technology advancements have pointed us in the direction of linking our DNA to everything we do. Biometrics technology is already working its way into our daily lives; from smartphone “touch ID” to cars that unlock with your handprint.

It is no surprise then that many financial institutions and governments have already embraced biometric authentication as the standard for verifying the identity of customers opening accounts, requesting services, and making payments. There will be 770 million biometric authentication apps downloaded annually by 2019 (according to Juniper’s research).  Payment services are increasingly taking advantage of biometrics to improve security and convenience by eliminating the need for users to enter passwords or use other cumbersome manual authentication methods.

Thanks to companies like Apple and Samsung, many banks are already allowing touch ID to authorize payments and money transfers, and some banks in Europe are allowing ATM withdrawals with the same fingerprint authorization (no card or PIN required). And vendors could certainly benefit from using the technology to authorize payments and cut down on fraud.

Biometrics are unique human physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, that can be used for automated authentication. Their growing use in payment solutions is driven largely by increase of touch ID hardware in mobile phones, although they can also be incorporated into other devices such as ATMs and payment terminals.

Benefits of Biometrics As Means Of Payment.

They free users from having to remember and enter multiple passwords: many of us have memorized more than 5 different passwords for different platforms.  Some users may have as many as 200 online accounts, each requiring secure controls over access. Biometrics eliminates this as only one biometric characteristic is required per individual.

They can improve security because they are not easily stolen or duplicated: Biometric scans and images aren’t nearly as easy to replicate as passwords — they’re incredibly unique, and they’re easily accessible to the consumer (your body parts are always with you).

When it comes to security, however, biometrics introduce concerns about the limited options consumers have, to protect their data. If a system is breached, it is not possible to get another fingerprint or eyes.

Despite potential bottlenecks, the future of biometrics in payments is promising. Security analysts note that as more apps enter the market, fingerprint-scanning technologies will improve, and even more biometric methods will become prevalent. While no biometric technology is perfect, these methods do take security a step further from the methods we’re currently using. It is established that incorporating biometrics into payments can add another level of security to consumer transactions, and it is not farfetched to conclude that Biometric transactions may soon replace cash payments.