Dara Security

Biometrics and the Payment Industry

March 09, 2017

Analysts have continued to predict each year that biometric authentication will hit center stage in payment security.  Experts assure us that facial-recognition or retinal scans are no longer ideas for the future, but analysts declare that biometric techniques like these can play an integral part in payment security today.  Although we have yet to see these predictions become reality, we are closer than ever to see biometrics-based security techniques within payment systems. 

Biometric authentication involves measuring and analyzing physical and behavioral traits and characteristics so that a person’s identity can be verified.  Biometrics like fingerprints, retinal scans, and facial recognition are the obvious physical characteristics that can be collected and analyzed for identity validation.  However, biometric technology has advanced to include biometric authentication using behavioral traits like gait, typing rhythm, or gestures. 

In the payments industry’s continual pursuit to prevent identity theft and fraudulent use of payment cards, biometric authentication has come into the spotlight.  The banking industry has already invested in biometrics, with ATMs in Japan and Poland incorporating finger vein scan technology.  MasterCard recently deployed its MasterCard Identity Check app which enables users to make online payments using a “selfie” to verify identification.  Merchants also recognize that biometrics would eliminate abandoned transactions due to forgotten login credentials.

For consumers, the benefits of biometric authentication are clear.  There is no need to remember another code as the consumer’s body has all it needs to validate the consumer’s identity.  Also, since consumers have used facial recognition and fingerprint scanners on mobile phones for quite some time now, consumers would readily accept biometrics for payment transactions.  In fact, two-thirds of consumers surveyed by Visa viewed biometrics as an effective identity verification technique for securing payments.

Advances in biometric technology, the payments industry’s desire to reduce fraudulent transactions, and the consumer’s interest in a simpler and more secure payment method have brought biometric authentication into focus.  Clearly, biometric authorization is no longer a futuristic idea, but the technology exists today and people are interested in it.  The payments industry is certainly poised for this coming evolution of security.  Are you ready?