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Biometric Payments - creepy or convenient?

Biometric payments are a way to verify identity, stop fraud and make payments frictionless. However, there are still many consumers that fail to get behind biometrics due to the personal nature of biometrics.


Many people still feel uncomfortable using new technologies. Less so with Millennials where 77% of them find alternative payment methods such as biometrics appealing and are a driving force with these new developments.


In order to see a move towards widespread adoption in other generations however, biometrics needs to be integrated into their lives more gradually. People are more likely to accept a new technology if it doesn’t impact or interrupt their day to day life too much or come too quickly.


How are biometrics being used now?


Biometrics in payments is not something new. The iPhone has been using fingerprints as a way to verify ApplePay since 2014. The fingerprint reader in the iPhone has actually opened the door for FinTech’s and start-ups globally to be able to use this hardware in their app’s and product. Offering security and reducing friction.


We see a strong move towards biometrics in payments as a way to keep up with the demand for convenience. People are looking to reduce friction in every aspect of their lives and businesses have made millions by having this as their core model.


Soon we will be saying goodbye to our pieces of plastic that frequently get lost, stolen, replicated and swallowed up by machines in the wall. Pincodes, passcodes and secret passwords where you need to remember your brothers, uncles, Fiancé’s, cousins first pet will be a thing of the past.


Biometrics are helping to remove friction from payment experiences by allowing you to make a payment any time, any place, anywhere. Something a card is simply unable to do.


Attitudes towards biometrics


Consumers feel as if they have to make a choice between their customer experience and protecting their privacy as they feel they are giving away deeply personal information.


Research suggests people are more relaxed about fingerprint & facial biometrics which we can assume is because they’ve become commonplace with almost any smartphone on the market. However, when it comes to vein, iris, and especially behavioural biometrics – there is less willingness to accept.


Behavioural biometrics refers to the way that an individual person behaves under certain circumstances. This is a hot topic right now in many industries due to the endless amounts of applications to understand user behaviour and deliver a personalised experience.


A common form of behavioural biometrics is keystroke, which allows you to measure the unique way someone types and moves across a screen. Not too invasive. However, businesses are now beginning to measure people’s behaviour in shops and in the workplace in order to come up with assumptions as to how to market to these people or get data about how they shop.


Consumers are much more sceptical about these passive types of biometrics because of a perceived lack of control over their data, as well as a lack of transparency into how their data is being used.


How to move forward to a positive view of biometrics


If we are going to see widespread adoption of biometric payments, it is the responsibility of companies using biometric authentication to be transparent. It is also important consumers are able to choose what aspects of their data they wish to share with a given organisation. It is key that customers are in control of their own data. So the basic tenets of GDPR should assist the industry as well as consumers in this.


Although defeating the point, to be successful in acceptance of biometrics, companies need to offer an alternative to it. Forcing biometrics biometric authentication on people who aren’t yet ready for it will have the opposite effect you want it to.


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This post is from a series of posts in the group:


Biometrics are the new weapons of war against online fraud and supporting financial services with biometric authentication and their KYC (Know Your Customer) procedures. ​ There are many different areas where biometrics are being deployed. For example in digital identity; an alternative to user names and passwords; protecting against ID theft; account takeovers and multiple accounts. ​ Mobile biometric authentication is helping to verify new and returning customers at the point of log-ins, payments and digital on-boarding.

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