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Biometric Payment Cards: The Next Payment Revolution

Over the last 20 years, biometric technology has permeated our everyday lives whether we’ve realised it or not. We’ve been scanning our prints and faces at border control and using Apple’s Touch ID and facial recognition features on our smartphones, through to using our fingertips to get access to highly secure buildings. Despite this, biometric software still seems like something in the distant future for many consumers.  

The reality however, is that biometric technology is about to become mainstream and will soon be deployed far beyond its early cameo roles in unlocking mobile phones or getting us through border control. In fact, in the payments space, it’s ready and raring to go.

The robust alternative to your PIN

The payments industry is embracing biometrics through the development of credit cards with an embedded fingerprint reader, which remove the need for a traditional chip and PIN transaction thanks to the reliability and ease of fingerprint verification. In order to pay for goods, customers simply place their fingerprint on the sensor on the card’s surface. Then, if the fingerprint stored in the card matches the user trying to make a payment, the transaction is authorised. If, for any reason, the fingerprint does not register, the PIN code is available as a back-up option.

These cards offer a great alternative to traditional credit cards and are designed to meet the emerging needs for more security and convenience of consumers. In fact, recent research into this trend revealed that 88 percent of British consumers would swap their current card with a biometric one if they are proven to be more secure. In addition, 68 percent see ease-of-use as a sticking point and 60 percent claim they would adopt if it was proven to simplify their life.

The good news is that biometric cards can meet all these needs.

From a convenience standpoint, consumers no longer need to remember confusing PIN codes or be impeded by limits on contactless transactions as the fingerprint negates the need for either of these. Moreover, the biometric card is revolutionary in making our transactions much safer.  To begin with, consumers’ fingerprint data is stored only on the card itself and cannot be access by the card manufacturer or another third party. Therefore, it is not susceptible to data breaches where PIN and passwords can be retrieved, and the user can rest assured that their biometric data belongs only to them.

A new approach to security

Biometric cards have had security built into the design. This is the easiest way to ensure that these banking cards will be able to protect consumers against the banking and cyber threats of the 21st century. Theories that the fingerprint reader is no more secure than the PIN because it can be easily duplicated are entirely false. The advanced solution within the card cannot be fooled by a 2D of your print. Moreover, the technology which is used to build the scanner will only evolve and strengthen over time. As the technology improves, so will the readings of the fingerprints, enabling a clearer, more detailed capture that could even include the individual’s pores on the skin’s surface, making the solution resistant to attacks including very sophisticated ones. The card can also be cancelled remotely by a bank, just like a normal debit or credit card.

Furthermore, the chip’s high-level encryption ensures that the card can withstand robust attempts to access its data. This helps to neutralise fears that a hacker could still gain access and compromise the data inside the chip. In addition, the fingerprint recognition is designed to work even if the print is dirty or wet, by changes to consumers’ prints will not affect their ability to use their card. If, for any reason, the print is not accepted at the point of sale, the card accepts a PIN code as a secondary form of ID verification.

Ultimately, biometric payment cards are the future of consumer payments providing easy, convenient, reliable and secure payment transactions. This is backed by research which shows that there is considerable appetite for biometric cards as long as they meet the convenience and security needs of consumers. The technology behind biometric cards is not static, it’s only going to evolve over time and will become stronger and more secure. When you consider what consumers want – security, convenience, something that simplifies your life – the biometric card ultimately ticks all the boxes.

 

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