You really do want to use biometrics for payments, beam banks

Visa-backed survey gives fingerprint recognition the thumbs-up

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Two in three European consumers actively want to use biometric technology when making payments, according to a new Visa-sponsored survey.

Nearly three in four (73 per cent) see two-factor authentication – where a form of biometrics is used in conjunction with a payment device – as a secure payment authentication method.

More than half (53 per cent) express a preference for fingerprint over other forms of biometric authentication for payments. Half the consumers quizzed think payments will be faster and easier with biometrics.

Far fewer people favoured either voice recognition or the new technology of selfie-based recognition. Only 15 per cent would use selfies to make payments and only 12 per cent would use voice recognition for authentication. In the UK, these figures fall to eight per cent and 12 per cent, respectively, for voice or facial recognition as payment forms.

Two-thirds (68 per cent of those quizzed) want to use biometric authentication methods to pay for things, particularly in environments where speed efficiencies are valued such as buying for train tickets or at a bar or restaurant.

Jonathan Vaux, Visa’s executive director of innovation partnerships, argued that biometrics need to be married with other forms of authentication to make a successful payments system.

“Biometric identification and verification has created a great deal of excitement in the payments space because it offers an opportunity to streamline and improve the customer experience,” Vaux said. “Our research shows that biometrics is increasingly recognised as a trusted form of authentication as people become more familiar with using these capabilities on their devices.”

“Unlike a PIN which is entered either correctly or incorrectly, biometrics are not a binary measurement but are based on the probability of a match. Biometrics work best when linked to other factors, such as the device, geolocation technologies or with an additional authentication method. That’s why we believe that it’s important to take a holistic approach that considers a wide range of enabling technologies that contribute to a better end-to-end experience, from provisioning a card to making a purchase to checking your balance,” he added.

Asked to consider the potential benefits of biometric authentication, half of Europeans (51 per cent) state that biometric authentication for payments could create a faster and easier payment experience than traditional methods. A third (33 per cent) welcomed the idea that biometric authentication means that their details would be safe even if their device was lost or stolen.

The Visa Biometric Payments study, conducted by market research outfit Populus, involved quizzing more than 14,000 consumers across seven European countries. The survey is one of the largest and most comprehensive studies on biometric payments to date. ®


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