Video: Payment biometrics go beyond mobile fingerprint scanners
By Jenny Hoff | Published: April 12, 2016
By now many people are used to logging into their smartphones using a fingerprint. But what once seemed futuristic could soon feel archaic, as credit card companies start integrating different forms of biometric authentication into mobile and credit card payments.
"Besides fingerprint there are a number of different biometrics being introduced to consumers. Voice is one of them, facial is another, there is even an iris scan," says Mark Nelson, senior vice president of risk products and business intelligence for Visa.
Palm prints and skin identification are in the works too, as companies develop more sophisticated ways to log on securely using something that is always with you – your body.
"We have a technology which we call STA, surface texture analysis, which matches the skin texture of the person, so it matches little pores and wrinkles that are on your skin," says Brian Martin, director of biometric research at MorphoTrust.
The idea is to someday use two or more of these biometrics at the same time, to increase security and prevent fraud. And though the concentration in the U.S. is on developing biometrics for mobile payments, in countries where mobile isn’t as popular, the major card companies are bringing biometrics to the plastic itself. No need to remember different PINs, your fingerprint will do the job for you. And it won’t be long before it’s a seamless experience.
"Biometrics are happening at the ATM but it’s only specifically for that bank," Nelson says. "So, as a consumer if I go to a different bank’s ATM I can’t use the biometric. What we are trying to do is create a set of interoperable standards so that consumers, whenever they use their card at the point of sale or at the ATM, they can use a biometric and it will work."
Paying for something has never been easier than it is now. But if touching a screen still feels cumbersome, fret not. In the not too distant future you’ll be able to make a payment without any movement at all.
"Rather than taking out your physical plastic or even your phone, you could just walk up to a terminal and say 'I want to pay with that with my Visa card' and that voice recognition could be paired and matched to something on your device, and that would be a form of payment," says Nelson.
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