Biometric payments for contactless future

19 Aug, 2021 . 4 minutes



Biometric authentication for payments can be the best option for financial transactions after the coronavirus pandemic, offering a highly secure and seamless experience.

The use of cashless transactions, necessitated by the pandemic, is becoming more ubiquitous. Many people shifted to online-based solutions and digital financial technology, such as mobile banking, along with alternative payment methods such as digital wallets and buy-now-pay-later, instead of traditional credit cards and cash. However, this could pose problems for some. The more accounts a person has, the more combinations of usernames, passwords, and PINs must be remembered.

Biometric authentication takes advantage of what humans were born with instead of taking all the hassles and risks of hackable sets of letters and characters. This type of payment authentication, according to TechTarget, is a point-of-sale technology that identifies and verifies a person based on fingerprint, retina, voice, or facial features before deducting funds from their financial accounts.

People can choose which biometric feature they wish to use in financial transactions, allowing them to rely on their body parts and features to verify their identities without having to memorize various passwords.

Types of biometric payments

Four types of biometrics are currently used in the fintech world.

The most commonly applied is the fingerprint. This type of verification is also used to secure various gadgets, including smartphones.

It is a very credible base of validation since no fingerprint has the same pattern, making it a fool-proof identification. Nevertheless, fingerprint recognition is risky in the post-pandemic world due to the necessity of physical contact. The second is facial recognition, which enables instant verification to process a payment. This is also a common feature on most newer smartphone models and can be used as an option to access a gadget without having to enter a PIN or password.

Voice identification has already been used in many smart devices that provide artificial intelligence-based voice assistants. This feature identifies users by their unique vocal patterns. Several payment services, such as PayPal, have benefited from voice recognition. Since it is completely hands-free, this feature could be perfect for people with high mobility.

The fourth type of biometric is eye scanning. There are currently two types: one scans the retina, while the other identifies users by their iris. The difference is only in where the pattern is identified. The scanner usually works by projecting an unperceived beam of low-energy infrared light into the user's eye. Some types of eye scanners still face various problems related to identifying the angle of the user's eye, in addition to external issues such as lighting. However, more accurate recognition technology may become available soon.

Benefits

Biometric authentication has several benefits that could help reduce anxiety and fears of security breaches, such as fraud and hacking, as well as becoming infected with the coronavirus. Several types of biometrics can be used for contactless payments. Consumers do not have to touch anything to pay. It promises a fast, frictionless and seamless payment option.

Contactless payments have become the habitual choice of 78.3 percent of British consumers since the start of the pandemic, with 90 percent of the 300 respondents surveyed by TietoEVRY stating that they have used this type of payment method in the past three months. The number can be compared with data compiled by UK Finance in 2019 that showed only 60 percent of adults in the UK used this technology, indicating the significant shift to contactless payments. The foremost benefit of biometric authentication for payments is that it is near spoof-proof, thus offering high levels of security and assurance.

Each person has unique traits and tangible characteristics that are very hard to replicate. According to Forbes columnist and tech expert Louis Columbus, biometric authentication, which is based on "something you have," or "something you are," is much more secure than "something you know," such as a text-based password or PIN. Other than that, Juniper Research projects that mobile biometric authentication could be worth around $2 trillion by 2023, with e-commerce transactions accounting for 57 percent of this figure. Over 1.5 billion smartphones will use software-based biometrics by then, which is not surprising, as 90 percent of smartphones currently in use already support facial biometrics.

It appears that the development of biometrics will continue, implying that the use of these technologies to authenticate payments will become much more prevalent in the post-pandemic era.




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