PayPal expects people will soon inject devices for identification

A PayPal development guru believes people will soon have devices in their body to be used as forms of identification

A PayPal development guru believes people will soon have devices in their body to be used as forms of identification.

According to the Wall Street Journal, PayPal global head of developer advocacy Jonathan Leblanc believes embeddable, injectable and ingestible devices will be the next developments in identification for processes such as mobile banking transactions.

Just as people are getting used to wearable devices, including wristbands and watches, Leblanc said technology has taken a huge leap forward to “true integration with the human body”.

He told the US publication that people will shift from using biometrics such as fingerprints for identification and will move towards internal body functions, such as heartbeat and vein recognition, and then ingestible devices.

According to Leblanc, devices implanted in the brain and powered by stomach acid could be a future development.

Read more about biometric security

PayPal is increasing its voice in the finance sector following Ebay’s decision to spin off the payments firm, which was announced in September 2014. This enabled each of the two companies to focus separately on growth and suggested PayPal had its own ambitions. 

The e-commerce firm is already starting to navigate its own future. It recently acquired mobile payment startup Paydiant for $280m. The startup sells mobile payment software to retailers to enable them to create their own branded mobile payment services. Subway and credit card company Capital One are customers.

Leblanc said PayPal is working with partners who are building vein recognition technologies, as well as heartbeat recognition bands. The company is also working with developers, mostly through 24-hour hackathons, who are building prototypes of futuristic identification verification techniques, he said.

Paypal is not alone. In March 2015, it was revealed that UK bank Halifax is testing a technology that identifies customers by their heartbeats, to allow them access to banking services

The building society said the technology could be more secure than using fingerprints to access accounts. In a demonstration video, a Halifax spokesman said the technology is still in development, but could be used in the future to make account access easier and more secure.

Paypal told Computer Weekly: “We have no plans to develop injectable or edible verification systems.  It's clear that passwords as we know them will evolve and we aim to be at the forefront of those developments. We were a founding member of the FIDO alliance, and the first to implement fingerprint payments with Samsung. New PayPal-driven innovations such as one touch payments make it even easier to remove the friction from shopping. We’re always innovating to make life easier and payments safer for our customers no matter what device or operating system they are using.”

Read more on IT for financial services

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