How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Bringing Biometric Identification One Step Closer

In the second post in our series on a cashless society, Vince Graziani, CEO of IDEX Biometrics, discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing biometric identification one step closer.

For businesses, operating in a cashless society has many benefits, the most obvious being the electronic audit trail that all non-cash transactions leave. This means that any unscrupulous or illegal transactions can usually be tracked back to their source much more easily. More transactions can also be done online, and the need to manually check and verify cash is one less job to think about.

The Use of Biometrics When Performing Cashless Transactions

Credit cards have long been used by businesses to conduct most of their transactions. With advanced technology, credit cards have become the preferred payment method for businesses. Having a unique biometric identifier means that customers can conduct transactions in a way that is unique to them, reducing the chances of fraud and theft.

COVID-19 and Going Cashless

Businesses have wished for society to go cashless for many years now for a variety of reasons, but people like the familiarity that carrying-cash brings. After all, we were largely a cash-based society for decades. However, the beginning of the year 2020 and the global pandemic known as COVID-19 has already started to change all that.

In the US, we are seeing drastic moves in response to the crisis. As reported by CNBC, business professionals are seeing more and more merchants discouraging the use of cash because of the risk of the paper carrying the virus and the hygiene questions that surround hand transfers of money ( This may very well be the start of a stronger trend toward digital payments in general, even when the highest level of virus threat has passed. In China, per CNBC, banks were told that cash needed to be disinfected as the virus spread. There were also reports that people were actually heating and even burning money in some hard-hit areas.

Businesses can realize benefits with the use of biometrics instead of cash in many ways. Not only is it obviously more hygienic not to have physical currencies changing hands, it also means that they will no longer have to provide secure storage locations to store cash, saving both time and money for their business. The use of biometric and electronic payment systems can also help to alleviate the stress on businesses when confronted with cases of fraud, either in-person or over the Internet, as it adds an extra layer of security to the payment processing systems.

There is no doubt that both digital and biometric payment systems are the preferred methods for businesses, and the Coronavirus pandemic has simply highlighted the need for urgent change. Due to the fear associated with this virus and its rapid spread, it’s entirely possible that people will fear handling cash for an extended period of time, even when the levels of infection are slowed and we are no longer at a pandemic level. So, go for on-card biometrics in order to avoid spreading the virus.

Just a piece of advice. Nobody should touch your contactless cards but you.  By practicing good personal hygiene and accelerating the adoption of biometric cards, we can together prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, prevention is better than cure. So, modifications of payment procedures are strictly advised and the move to on-card fingerprint sensors needs to happen with urgency.


The previous post in our series on a cashless society looked at how to fight a global pandemic by moving towards a cashless society.