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Consumers trust banks more than government for biometric security

UK citizens think banks are the best organisations to provide biometric authentication for payments

British people have most trust in banks to provide biometric security with payments, according to research from Visa.

The study, involving 15,000 people evenly spread across seven European countries, found that 85% of people in Britain trusted banks the most with biometric security for payments – a big jump from the 65% who said so in the 2015 survey.

The second most trusted organisations were payment networks (81%), followed by global online brands (70%).

Some 60% of the 2,000 UK respondents trusted banks to store their biometric data, compared with only 33% that trusted government agencies.

Kevin Jenkins, UK managing director at Visa, said banks had a tremendous opportunity in the payments revolution. “From trialing voice recognition to behavioural biometrics for authentication, we are already seeing banks – both high street and challenger banks – making positive steps to adopt this technology in a variety of use cases.

“This consumer confidence in both authentication as well as the storage of their biometric data gives banks the perfect scenario to provide a service.”

Research from Visa in July found that nearly three-quarters of consumers considered biometrics on a payments device a secure method of making transactions.

The Visa Biometric Payments Study, which surveyed people across Europe, showed 73% thought biometric security checks on a payments device provided secure authentication. Fingerprint recognition was the preference for 81% of consumers, followed by iris scanning.

Read more about biometric security

Banks are already offering biometric technology to make it easier for customers to authenticate payments. Barclays has been using voice authentication in call centres since 2013.

HSBC customers are being offered access to fingerprint authentication services using the fingerprint readers built into Apple’s iPhones in combination with HSBC’s mobile banking app. Recently, the bank launched a mobile app that enables  business customers to open accounts using a selfie as ID.

Read more on IT for financial services

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Odds are very good that those poor, trusting UK citizens will have a serious comeuppance sooner than they'd like. Most US citizens have learned (the hard way) that banks are a necessary evil but hardly worthy of trust. And while biometrics may indeed be the future, but they're still a way away from the present.
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