Biometric Security

by Edward O'Brien 0

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The payments industry, facing the risk of increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks and various types of credit card fraud, has begun incorporating various types of biometric technology to enhance security and prevent breaches.

As recently reported, MasterCard is launching a facial recognition payment service based on “selfies” taken on a smartphone. This new technology features a photo scanner that creates a map of the shopper’s face, which is then translated into a code for confirmation of future payments.

For now, MasterCard customers must still use a password when making purchases via the “SecureCode” service, but soon a “selfie” from a smartphone will be enough to close transactions. This program is to be tested initially on 500 card users in the coming months. MasterCard stated that it also is working on a payment program based on voice recognition.

MasterCard’s imminent transition to biometrics was preceded by Apple Pay’s launching in October 2014 of a biometric payment technology based on fingerprint ID. The newest iPhone models are equipped with Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint reader.

And then there is PayPal, which has boosted security on its mobile app by using fingerprint sensors that are installed on some Samsung Electronics devices. All in all, the stage seems to be set for the large-scale adoption of biometric technology.

With tighter security and an easy user experience being frequent topics of conversation in banks and credit unions, the use of biometrics is increasingly being considered as an option to bridge the gap between these seemingly incompatible goals. With biometrics in the form of fingerprint identification being offered on some smartphones, and other forms of biometrics being tested in some markets, it’s likely that we’ll see the increased use of personal identification solutions in the not-too-distant future.

Overview by Ed O’Brien, Director, Banking Channels Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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