Why Do You Think Fingerprint Authorization In Payment Cards Is Gaining in Importance?

In our second post in the series on ‘Emerging Use Cases’, David Orme, SVP of Sales and Marketing at IDEX Biometrics discusses why fingerprint authorization in payment cards is gaining importance.

Having a fingerprint sensor module embedded within a payment card adds an extra layer of security, so what are the benefits?

Mastercard representative service providers are excited about biometric payment cards since both Chip and Pin as well as fingerprint technology are combined to give an extra layer of security. They are in the process of rolling this technology out worldwide so that the cards can be used securely both on handheld payment and credit card payment machines wherever you go. [1]

Banks favor this new technology because it is not only more secure, but it also enables larger transactions to be conducted via Chip and Pin devices. Tying a card to an individual rather than a pin number means that the individual does not have to remember a pin and they also have a card that can only be used when it’s in their possession.

One of the key reasons for their increasing importance is the extra layer of security and peace of mind people have, especially when traveling. If the card is misplaced, lost or stolen, the owner can be safe in the knowledge that whenever it is recovered, it can’t be used.

The IT world is also waking up to the unlimited opportunities presented by biometric technologies. In an article by CNN Business, a spokesperson from Microsoft stated that the company spent over $2 million helping people change their passwords. The switch to biometrics and fingerprint technology is very much in full swing, with Facebook and Google stating that they would rather not use passwords at all. [3]

Capturing the fingerprint

During trial phases, improvements have been made to the enrolment process. Instead of requesting customers to visit a bank branch to register their fingerprints, a more workable solution has been put in place. The individual records their fingerprint directly onto their banking card using a digital sleeve to power the card. They do this several times until the fingerprint is recorded, and then it is converted into a set of numbers which, when securely stored, will allow the card to be used.

This highly sophisticated technology is exciting and doesn’t require the user to have access to a mobile device. It is highly likely that the next phase of global technological advancement will continue to focus on the biometric sector.

Making the change

In the light of the Coronavirus outbreak, there are also important behavioral changes that all of us must follow. With the rapid spread of COVID-19, the fear of risks associated with handling cash have increased.

It is reasonable to assume that this fear of cash will remain even when the levels of infection reduce and the peak passes. In this context, on-card biometrics is an ideal solution to reducing the spread of the virus. We are witnessing dramatic changes and failures in many existing industries as a result of COVID-19. Cash exchange can only add to the problem.

Businesses should consider de-risking strategies through the use of contactless payment options, ideally using cards as they are retained by the cardholder at all times, thus reducing risk of spreading the virus.

[1] https://www.mastercard.co.uk/en-gb/merchants/safety-security/biometric-card.html
[2] https://www.rbs.com/rbs/news/2019/10/natwest-first-uk-bank-to-unveil-biometric-credit-card.html
[3] https://money.cnn.com/2018/03/18/technology/biometrics-workplace/index.html

The previous post in our series on ‘Emerging Use Cases’ looked at what the future holds for biometric security technology.