How Fingerprint Sensors Solutions Support Financial Inclusion

With the growing focus on digital currencies, it seems clear that these digital assets will soon be a fully integrated aspect of the way we handle our money. With a number of countries expressing an interest, or announcing plans to introduce digital currencies, it is also clear that such a shift will be a huge undertaking. For those who already find themselves excluded from modern banking methods, what must be done to ensure that the introduction of digital currencies does not perpetuate this trend?

The Challenges of Introducing New Technology

Europe has an ageing population, which presents certain challenges when it comes to introducing digital currencies. The use of such currencies is naturally synonymous with an increased reliance on technology, whether it takes the form of a desktop computer, smartphone or tablet, and the older generation is less likely to have adopted these devices. When it comes to the latest smart wearables, older people are less likely to make use of such technology, with only 16% adoption by of those aged 60 to 69 (a figure that falls further to a mere 11% for the over 70). [1]

A Fingerprint Sensor Provides the Solution

By introducing a fingerprint sensor into a payment card, financial institutions can encourage access to digital currencies for anyone currently excluded from digital banking. This kind of authentication technology is already familiar to consumers, thanks to its widespread use in many smart devices, and provides a robust means of verifying a user’s identity and preventing fraudulent misuse.

Furthermore, the user’s sensitive personal data is encrypted and stored in the sensor chip held on the card itself, removing concerns of potential use or theft of this personal information. This is ideal for older people who may lack confidence in using smart devices. The user simply places their fingertip against the sensor built into their card, allowing for quick, uncomplicated access to banking without the need to remember passwords.

Combined with cold wallets, this can provide an entry point for unbanked populations, currently 4% of the UK population, and rises to 6% for other European countries such as France, Spain and Italy [2]. The percentages are far higher in less developed nations. It is clear that fingerprint sensors can contribute to eliminating the inequalities of the current global financial system. This secure, digital authentication solution supports at least two of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) [1], in particular Goal #1, which is focused upon the elimination of poverty. The use of biometrics to provide financial access to unbanked members of society is clearly in-line with this objective. Given that financial access is far from equitable on a global basis, this inherently addresses Goal #10, which seeks to reduce inequality across countries.

A Tool for Inclusion

By integrating a fingerprint sensor into payment cards and cold wallets, financial institutions can greatly improve access to digital currencies, and help to promote better financial inclusion. As a cost-effective, secure method that is both convenient and easy to use, unbanked and digitally excluded will be able to access digital currencies and other banking services with confidence and make a digital financial future far more practical for all.