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Digital Identity, Security & Online Fraud

Mastercard, University of Oxford research on ways to overcome biometric challenges

Thursday 15 June 2017 | 10:52 AM CET

A new report from Mastercard and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford has highlighted a big barrier in mobile biometrics adoption.

To overcome this knowledge gap, “Mobile Biometrics in Financial Services: A Five Factor Framework” explores this fast-evolving technology landscape and provides bank executives with guidelines to bring mobile biometrics to life. As a result, they need to focus on performance, usability, interoperability, security and privacy. This paper is based on two separate studies: (1) a longitudinal study of users’ attitudes towards the adoption of biometric authentication for online payment use cases; and (2) an opinion survey of a targeted group of financial services professionals.

The findings of these studies are two-fold. The user study shows that users (>90%) believe biometrics are more secure and convenient than passwords, and that they are willing to adopt biometrics to replace existing password-based authentication. Nonetheless, the industry survey highlights gaps in experience and importance on different aspects of deploying biometric systems: only 36% of respondents are familiar with biometrics, compared to 88% of them that would be involved in their deployment. Therefore, these gaps inhibit adoption of biometrics, as they prevent effective communication and collaboration among different entities involved in the process of deployment.

The lack of experience seems to also translate into high optimism about the potential of biometric systems: 96% of inexperienced individuals believe biometrics will improve the security of mobile banking and payments, compared to 61% of experienced professionals that agree with this proposition.

Also, research results show that users react more positively to fingerprint compared to face recognition. Furthermore, they believe that biometric authentication is more secure (83%) and more convenient (92%) than passwords. 

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