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Digital Identity, Security & Online Fraud

Mobile payment authentication impacted by biometrics

Friday 7 December 2018 | 12:01 PM CET

As biometrics technology has been improving, it is poised to have an impact not only on mobile payments but on the world of consumer payments in general.

From a mobile payments perspective, it is easier for consumers to pay with a touch of their fingerprint or scan of their face than to type out complex passwords on small screens. Card issuers are also recognizing the importance and value of biometric authentication. As such, Mastercard announced at the start of 2018 that consumers will be able to identify themselves with biometrics, such as fingerprints or facial recognition when they shop and pay with Mastercard by April 2019, meaning that banks offering Mastercard-branded cards will need to provide biometric authentication for remote transactions, along with existing PIN and password verification.

Computop, for instance, sees a rising demand for biometric solutions from the white label customers (mostly banks and PSPs). Therefore, biometric authentication will apply to all contactless transactions made at terminals with a mobile device. Moreover, on October 2018, Mastercard announced that it plans to remove the signature panel on the back of its cards in line with changing consumer preferences. This idea came as a result of a survey conducted with 1,000 US adults that revealed that more than half of respondents believed they were just as secure without signing the back of their cards. Two-thirds of them wanted biometrics to replace signatures, passwords, and PIN codes when they were paying with their card.

Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay are already using fingerprint and face recognition for payment transactions. Along with eye and voice recognition, fingerprint and face recognition will provide better security than user names with complex passwords, as biometric data is stored on the mobile devices within secure modules. Therefore, it’s not only the authentication which provides security. For example, when processing a biometric authentication, Computop does not exchange biometric data, but only cryptographic key pairs.

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