Why biometrics are the need of the hour for customer experience and security

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Reading Time: 3 minutes(Last Updated On: March 3, 2019)

Stan Swearingen, CEO at IDEX Biometrics

It’s no secret that life as we once knew it has been transformed using technology with responsiveness playing a key role in keeping pace with digital transformation while prioritising security. For example, the introduction of biometric identification in the consumer ecosystem has been successfully accepted as ensuring superior security rapidly.

Biometric recognition involves automated identification of physiological properties, such as fingerprints, which are exclusive to an individual and are unlikely to change over time. However, it has also made a big impact on the smartphone market and has replaced security measures, such as passcodes, to protect the user’s data from theft.

Beyond PINs, Passwords and Passcodes

Based on global user engagement reports, biometric fingerprint recognition is expected to corner the payment card market in the years to come. This has paved the way for the financial services industry to think beyond PINs and evaluate the extensive potential of biometric-enabled payment systems. In fact. IDEX Biometrics’ recent research found that 53% of consumers would trust the use of their fingerprint to authenticate payments more than the traditional PIN.

Besides battling fraud, biometric fingerprint authentication can deliver a stronger customer experience since it rules out the hassle of remembering PINs or changing them time and time again to ensure credentials are not being hacked. It is a simple and user-friendly on-card enrolment process where no applications or equipment are needed from the user’s end. It has also made the in-store checkout process far more secure and streamlined – resulting in a substantial reduction of abandoned transactions that often happen when a user forgets or mistypes their PIN.

Why fingerprint authentication?

Although biometric authentication eliminates the risk of traditional payment card fraud such as payment card skimming, the chip switching trick, man-in-the-middle attack, keypad jamming, and similar activities, is it safe to say that any type of biometric authentication is a failsafe measure? Sophisticated hackers might use photographs to simulate facial or iris recognition and use them during payment card authentication. This is where fingerprint recognition takes the lead, as it is extremely difficult to obtain a unique imprint.

Fingerprint authenticated payment systems have already been introduced and the high consumer engagement levels are encouraging. The demand for more secure, quick, and easy-to-implement solutions are driving many sectors, including the financial services sector and beyond, to embrace biometrics. So how will consumers benefit from biometric-enabled payment cards? Let’s find out.

  1. Fully encrypted:Most consumers are wary of sharing their confidential credentials with multiple third-parties. Payments via biometric smart cards overcome this and ensure data is safely encrypted, which no one else can access. According to reports, standard four-digit PINs are insecure, but biometric fingerprint technology is recognised as much more secure, with 99.99 per cent accuracy of correct identification and authentication.
  2. Simple-to-use:The cardholder just needs to touch the finger sensor on the card and allow it to take an image. Once there is a match, the payment is authorised. There is no need to visit a bank or upload biometric data to any central database.
  3. Win-win situation:Both consumers and businesses will reap the benefits with biometric smart payment cards. The banks can curb payment card fraud and instil trust amongst customers, while retail businesses can experience a boost in sales as customers will make more frequent transactions and spend less time making payments.
  4. Time-saving: Entering a PIN can take a while, but biometric fingerprint authorisation is an instant process. Biometric fingerprint identification not only expedites the transaction process but also guarantees peace of mind that the consumer is looking for every time they use their payment card.
  5. Uniquely personal:The cards are thin, small and bendable, yet make authentication uniquely personal and exclusive to the user. It’s almost impossible to simulate a unique fingerprint.
  6. Strong battery-less performance:No battery is needed for the card to work. The payment cards consume very low power and can operate using the power from a POS terminal since these are embedded with enterprise-level biometric algorithms.
  7. Improved accuracy:  PINs and passwords may be inaccurate due to human error whereas you can never go wrong with physical attributes such as a fingerprint.
  8. International purchases:Users can make payments at multiple stores anywhere in the world. Flexible payment options will encourage higher purchases at retail stores leading to increased profitability for bricks and mortar businesses. The solution integrates with existing payment point of sale (POS) terminals, including existing contact and contactless terminals.