Biometrics and the Evolution of Payments

The world is becoming increasingly digitized. In this new era of connection, biometric technology is meeting the evolving needs of consumers by providing convenient and highly secure identity verification. Fingerprint, facial, and iris recognition technologies are currently the most popular of these solutions. Within these robust technologies, there is one mode of identification that has proven to be particularly effective for its security and usability: fingerprint authentication.

The Rise of SCA

Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) has become an integral part of every financial institution’s remit. From March 2022, online retailers in the UK had to provide SCA support as part of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) drive to reduce instances of fraud [1]. Biometric technology offers an ideal solution for financial services providers looking to deliver a highly secure authentication process to customers. As a result, interest in these technologies has soared. Consumer adoption has strongly resulted from biometric technology’s ability to significantly improve the digital customer experience, building and maintaining trust as well as ease of use.

Some companies have opted for facial recognition solutions, while others have decided to use voice recognition tools. But for a growing number of financial services providers, the most efficient choice is fingerprint authentication. Offering advantages such as high-security, accuracy and consumer familiarity, customers can enjoy swift and accurate transactions when shopping or paying bills.

The Options for Biometric Authentication

Consumers are avidly aware of protecting their personal data and demand a highly secure and reliable means of protecting themselves against fraud risks. While facial recognition technology has been a popular choice, there are growing concerns about how secure it is: the increasing sophistication of deepfake technology, together with issues relating to how images (rather than a live face) may be used to grant user access, means that trust is at risk for this biometric approach.

Statistics also strongly reflect consumers’ dwindling trust in facial recognition. A recent study by Mastercard and Oxford University states that 77 percent of participating consumers consider facial recognition a secure system, rising to 93 percent who consider fingerprints a secure biometric system. Iris or retina recognition technology comes with its own set of challenges: for example, its ability to successfully authenticate a user’s identity can be reduced in cases where lighting is poor.

Meanwhile, fingerprint authentication can offer potent security benefits, like being able to detect if a fingerprint is real or a fake image. When making a transaction, the user’s minute fingerprint characteristics (ridges, valleys, arches) are compared against the data stored in the card for authorization, proving to be a very reliable method of user verification. As the user’s personal fingerprint data is stored safely on the card, customers don’t need to worry about their data being hacked remotely on clouds or servers.

The Best Choice for A Biometric Payment Card

By delivering benefits such as security, convenience, and ease of use, biometric authentication offers an optimal solution for the financial services industry. As well as supporting SCA, including such solutions can help regain and strengthen customers’ trust, while differentiating in the market through innovation.