From cash to mobile payments. From password to fingerprint. The online payment sector is evolving rapidly to meet the steady pace of technological development and recent legislative changes within the EU. At the heart of these innovations are biometric payment procedures designed to ensure better security standards and a better user experience.
Why biometric payment methods via fingerprint or selfie become more important and why retailers and manufacturers should take this type of authentication seriously, we’ll share below.
Biometric authentication on the rise
Paying with your own body – Around 23 percent of consumers have already paid with their fingerprints and another 34 percent could see themselves doing this in the future. If you think about it, it quickly becomes clear that there few things more personal and unique, and therefore safer, than our fingerprint. So why not use the feature that distinguishes us most clearly from other people for authentication?
In addition to fingerprints, there is also the possibility to scan faces. Last year, Alipay launched “Smile Pay” at several stationary stores in China. Whether customers laugh or make faces makes no difference. This method of identification only checks features that are consistent regardless of our facial expression. Face recognition technologies have evolved significantly in recent years. In the meantime, even 3D images of the respective face can be used.
The majority of consumers rate these methods as particularly comfortable and convenient, as no additional access code needed. But not only that – banks also report that customers are more inclined to make a purchase when biometric authentication is available.
According to Mastercard, the drop-off rates can be reduced by up to 70 percent compared to other methods such as the mTAN procedure, which reflects the significantly improved user-friendliness. No wonder that retailers and manufacturers are very interested in this technology. 62.2 percent of them could imagine offering biometric payment processing.
Alternative methods with the help of voice and eyes
There are also alternatives. Speech recognition is now widespread thanks to digital assistants like Alexa. Since your own voice is quite unique, it can also be used as an authentication tool. Like a password, a certain word is always said. The tone vibration is measured accordingly and then compared with the patterns stored in the system.
For those who don’t like these methods, there is an even more accurate biometric scan: an iris scan. The uniqueness of our iris is scientifically proven and, more importantly, it does not change over time. So far, we only knew about this method from sci-fi movies, where people gained access to heavily guarded premises. But it is actually becoming more and more common in our everyday lives.
The increasing availability of biometric recognition features on our smartphones and the EU’s new requirements for secure authentication are paving the way for the expansion of biometric solutions for digital payments.
Under the new EU rules, two out of three different authentication factors must be met:
- Something that only you know yourself (password)
- Something that only you own (smart card)
- A unique feature of a person (fingerprint, face)
Biometric payment methods offer two main advantages: They meet consumers’ expectations in terms of security and are quite easy to handle. At the same time, these new methods require corresponding technical capacities and a certain change in the user. It should be noted, however, that about three-quarters of consumers are prepared to accept initial overhead if that adds security to the payment process.