The Biometric Smart Card – A Strong Authentication Means For the Digitally Excluded

Welcome to the second post in our series on digital inclusion. In this post, Stan Swearingen, CEO of IDEX Biometrics discusses how the biometric smart card is a strong authentication means for the digitally excluded. The previous post in our series on digital inclusion looked at how biometric identification is bridging the digital inclusion gap.

Smart cards provide a strong means of authentication for the digitally excluded.

The biometric smart card has the potential to be a significant game-changer for the digitally excluded. Its flexibility, affordability, and ease of use make it one of the first technologies that can truly bridge the technology gap for under-served communities. Such communities are also known as the digitally excluded, and they tend to be unintentionally excluded from advanced technology and having a digital footprint. Factors that lead to digital exclusion include income, neighborhood demographics, old age, and disability. How can a smart card change their representation?

Creating a Digital Identity

People who do not have a digital identity in today’s world are rare, but they do exist. Those who do not have readily available access to technology are excluded from a variety of services and offerings within their community due to not having an online or digital presence. A biometric smart card can help change this by allowing these individuals to create a digital identity and use it to their advantage when out in the wider world. Whether it’s accessing education or healthcare, a critical component of receiving good quality for either of these services is being included in the first place. Today, being included involves developing a digital identity, and this is only going to become more important as time goes on.

Ongoing Connectivity Unnecessary

One of the biggest advantages of the smart card is that it does not require constant or even consistent connection to the internet or a device. The smart card stores important and unique biometric data that is accessible when needed. This allows access to under-served communities who do not have consistent access to the technology that many of us take for granted on a daily basis, and it is also beneficial to those who use technology that is shared. Biometric authentication can be used to allow or restrict access to devices and data based on who is requesting access at the time, even when other people have access to the same device at different times.

Security Even Skeptics Can Trust

The biometric smart card offers security you can trust, even for those who are wary of technology. The unique nature of the smart card allows the user to keep their data in their possession, and the unique identifiers inherent in biometric data allow for secure access that is unique to each individual. The digitally excluded also tend to be more wary of technology and whether or not it is secure. Knowing that their data is safe and protected and in their control will help alleviate those concerns.

The digitally excluded have many options for identifying themselves in the digital age, though smart cards make the most sense for their likely needs. Offering this technology to those who have been previously under-represented marks technological progress in new ways, enabling new horizons for those who can benefit from technology but have not previously had access to it.


The previous post in our series on digital inclusion looked at how biometric identification is bridging the digital inclusion gap.