December 07, 2022
Financial transactions involve money, of course. When it comes to money matters, security is paramount. Financial transactions are almost always protected with a myriad of security measures to ensure no fraudulent transactions or activities are taking place. How many times have bank representatives asked users for passcodes, passphrases, or demograhic data? How many times have banking platforms and apps asked users to confirm their identity and/or transactions with biometrics, PINs or signatures?
With technology evolving at such a rapid pace, the digitization of the commerce and banking sectors is moving at a whirlwind pace. Banking services are now more convenient and faster than ever. Unfortunately, along with the rise of digital banking options comes a steady rise in cyber crime forecasted to grow to $48B USD by 2023.
A potential solution to digital payments threats is digital identity verification, mobile identity verification and biometric authentication technology. This article explores what biometric authentication technology is and how it is beneficial to the digital payments space.
What is biometric authentication technology?
Biometric authentication, as the name suggests, is a passwordless authentication technology that imbibes the user with strong customer authentication principles. Similar to the way most users unlock their devices these days, biometric authentication utilizes a user’s biometric data, i.e. fingerprints or facial scans, to identify a person trying to access an account or a device.
What makes biometrics a great passwordless authentication method is the fact that each person’s biometric features are unique, thereby ensuring that the end user is who they say they are. If the biometric features of the authenticating user match the approved user’s features, the user is given access to the account or device, else they are denied access.
Recent years have seen a rapid increase in biometric authentication use cases on a consumer level; consider again smartphones, which mostly use fingerprints or facial scans to allow a user to access their device. This technology has also made its way into personal and consumer devices such as computers and laptops. Not to mention the use of biometric authentication technology in secure areas like military bases, airports, even border entry ports.
Some common forms of biometric authentication are:
- Fingerprint scanners
- Facial recognition
- Voice identification
- Retina scanners
The leading standard associated with biometric authentication is known as ‘Fast Identity Online’ or ‘FIDO’, a hardware-based strong authentication standard which supports various types of biometric authenticators.....link to fido site, additional verbiage about FIDO etc.
LoginID’s SDKs and APIs make it simple for companies to integrate and utilize FIDO, leveraging whatever the user’s device supports for biometric authentication, and allows users to perform passwordless authentication, digital identity verification and mobile identity verification. Learn more here.
One of the most common forms of biometric authentication, fingerprints are heavily used for passwordless authentication and digital identity verification on smartphones, laptops and many other kinds of devices. Fingerprint scanners identify the ridges and swirls of an individual’s fingerprints and use the pattern to verify a user’s identity.
A very common technology, fingerprint scanners are used for biometric authentication, biometric identity verification and mobile identity verification. The technology is constantly being updated, so much so that the newest scanners can even assess vascular patterns, making them even more accurate.
Another popular form of authentication, facial recognition, matches different scans and measurements of an authorized user’s face to the face of the individual trying to access a certain device or account.
Faceprints, as they are commonly called, are utilized in many smartphones and some laptops to perform mobile identity verification and digital identity verification, as well as biometric authentication.
Voice recognition technology considers vocal characteristics, creating a person’s voice profile which is used for passwordless authentication of the user. The technology focuses on how the speaker’s mouth and throat forms sounds.
Retina or iris scanners
Retina scanners and iris scanners are two types of eye scanners used for authentication. Retina scanners utilize a bright light to identify visible blood vessel patterns which are read by the scanner and compared to the saved pattern to authenticate the user.
Iris scanners use a similar methodology, scanning for unique patterns in the colored ring around the pupil. However, this method of passwordless authentication is prone to inaccuracies, and can be tricked with a photograph.
Biometric authentication and mobile payments
Smartphones are increasingly being used to perform transactions; as users began shopping online and even performing banking transactions through their mobile devices, companies have shifted their focus to leverage biometric authentication technology to perform passwordless authentication for payments.
A report by Juniper revealed that mobile biometrics will be used to authenticate payments worth $2 trillion by 2023. The study also reveals that mobile payments transactions will make up 57% of all biometric transactions in 2023, compared to only 28% in 2018. Furthermore, the study also estimated that 90% of smartphones support facial recognition technology, and 80% of them support voice recognition authentication. The study predicted that over 1.5 billion smartphones would be utilizing software-based biometric technology by 2023.
How did mobile payments reach such a level?
Back in 2014, Apple pioneered a brand new way to make purchases - Apple Pay. Born from an idea of comfort with accessing banking services on a mobile device, Apple Pay was launched as a convenient and secure mobile shopping experience. The solution was so sound that, very soon, Samsung and Google launched Samsung Pay and Google Pay respectively.
Samsung utilized iris scanning as its mobile payment platform’s central component, offering a passwordless authentication UX that resonated with users, allowing them to make authorized payments with just a glance.
Google Pay, initially launched as Android Pay, did not require biometric authentication, but evolved to requiring authentication via a pin, a pattern or a biometric scan.
Who is adopting biometric authentication technology?
With the sharp increase in fraud cases, consumers are looking for more than just passwords and PINs to secure themselves online. Large companies such as Microsoft and Intel are staying on top of this by rolling out biometric authentication technology solutions and systems for new products. An example here is biometric single sign-on (SSO), which is an advanced password management technology aimed at protecting data from unauthorized access.
Many organizations across the world have started implementing multifactor authentication, sometimes called MFA, which makes use of biometric personal identification data such as a fingerprint scan, a facial recognition scan, voice identification or an iris / retina scan. What makes multifactor authentication so robust is the fact that utilizing biometric authentication technology makes it very difficult for hackers to compromise user accounts.
Some industries utilize a combination of passwords and/or PINs with biometric authentication technology in order to provide an additional layer of security.
Simple, secure online banking
Since Apple launched a fingerprint sensor on its smartphones, other companies quickly followed suit. Following this change, almost all major banks began adopting fingerprint logins, as well as facial recognition and iris scanning technology, to grant its users access to their accounts.
Easy card payments
Biometric authentication technology also has implications for card payments. Consider how users can tap their cards on terminals in order to make a purchase - quite quick and convenient. With the launch, and widespread adoption, of payment options such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay and so on, users have the ability to pay for purchases, and protect these payments with biometric authentication.
Biometric payment cards are also in the works by big players; these cards would support tap-and-go payments, coupled with the additional layer of biometric authentication technology. A user would simply need to register their fingerprint on the card’s sensor while purchasing.
Biometric technology has changed the way users look at security; its implications are far reaching and industry agnostic, with its most prominent benefits being in the banking and financial sector. Biometric technology is constantly evolving, coming out with more improvements and more secure ways to protect users online.
Solutions like LoginID empower companies to integrate FIDO2 biometric authentication into their website or app with simple-to-integrate SDKs and APIs. LoginID’s FIDO2 certification gives companies a suite of solutions like passwordless authentication, digital identity verification, mobile identity verification and digital onboarding, to help organizations of all sizes get started with FIDO2 passwordless authentication quickly and easily.
Get started with LoginID’s strong customer authentication solution today.
For more information, check out the open documentation or the tutorial.