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Biometrics on payments devices safe, say three-quarters of consumers

Most consumers think biometric authentication is the best way to secure payments via mobile devices, Visa survey finds

Nearly three-quarters of consumers think biometrics on a payments device is a secure method of making transactions, according to a survey from Visa.

With organisations currently testing out fingerprints, iris scan, heartbeat, selfie and voice authentication methods, biometric authentication will soon become the norm.

The Visa Biometric Payments study, which surveyed 14,000 people across Europe, revealed that 73% of people think biometric security checks on a payments device is a secure authentication, with fingerprint the preference for 81% of consumers, followed by iris scanning. Only 15% would use selfies to authenticate payments and only 12% would use voice recognition.

“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,” said Jonathan Vaux, executive director of Innovation Partnerships.

But biometrics faces acceptance challenges if it is the only form of authentication, said Vaux. “It could result in a false positive or false negative because, 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,” he added.

The survey found biometric authentication to be valued in face-to-face and online transactions. Some 48% of people want to use it for payments on public transport, 47% when paying at a bar or restaurant, 40% when shopping online, and 39% when downloading content.

Read more about biometric security

  • Biometric authentication will be the future of mobile security. New software can already recognise an individual’s face or voice – and DNA could be next.
  • Facial recognition, fingerprint sensors and other advanced mobile device authentication technologies are the future of smartphone, tablet and internet of things security.
  • The uniqueness of fingerprints, retinas and the other biological features that biometric authentication relies on is the security tool’s greatest asset.

This information is not lost on banks, with HSBC enabling more than 15 million customers to access accounts online using voice or fingerprint recognition biometric technologies.

The system was first rolled out for customers of the bank’s First Direct internet and phone banking division, and the rest of HSBC’s customers are being offered the service this summer.

Last year, Halifax even tested a technology that identifies customers by their heartbeats, which it said is more secure than fingerprints. ....................................................

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