insights and news

Advancements in Biometric Payment Solution

11 November 2020

Biometrics in the finance sector is already in use and recently managing to gain more trust from consumers as they get more used to using them as a method of authentication. Biometric solutions have existed in different applications and existing trend that was slowly being explored and adopted but the pandemic effect has caused an acceleration of implementation and even a higher level of acceptance by consumers. Biometric payment solutions is a more recent application of biometric technology and research has shown that 93% of consumers prefer biometrics over passwords when authorising payment.


The biometrics industry was estimated to surpass $45 billion by 2024 but after COVID-19 and the accelerated demand for contactless technology its though to reach $70 billion by 2030.


Using biometric technology as point of sale (POS) method to identify a consumer and authorise payment from their bank account will have benefits not only on individual customer experience but there are benefits for retailers. Making the payment process easier and smoother will reduce the number of abandoned carts due to forgotten passwords, and generally improving the customer experience.


There are two main types of biometric payment technologies that are currently available as payment applications fingerprint scanning and palm scanner. While face recognition was considered as a viable solution with the current pandemic and mask-wearing it’s no longer a front runner as a solution as the accuracy and reliability are compromised with the usage of masks. Increasing security as well as providing convenience for both retailers and consumers a driving factor towards the adoption of biometric payment solutions.


Fingerprint payment cards

Biometric Payment cards will include within them a fingerprint sensor that will detect the fingerprint and match it to the one stored on the card’s chip. If it matches the payment will be authorised. The fingerprint is stored completely with the card and at no point does it leave the card so cannot be stolen or intercepted, making such a card much more secure than using a pin or signature to authorise payments. In addition to the security benefit there are further advantages of using such a technology;

  • Payment cards can be set up easily even from home using a simple biometric scanning device
  • Pins are not required
  • Doesn’t require a battery
  • Such cards will be compatible for use with existing contactless terminals as the authentication is happening within the card itself

Currently, there are trials of such cards happening in Europe, so we may be seeing them appearing soon.


3D Fingerprint Scanners

Recent technology such as the MorphoWave Compact by Idemia work by using 3D fingerprint imaging to increase accuracy. Idemia’s patented, touchless 3D fingerprint technology works by scanning four fingers in 3D for maximum accuracy, with one pass of the hand over the sensor. This allows for a fast transaction without compromise to security.


Although, traditionally this technology is used for access control and time-attendance, Arana Security have developed a payment application compatible with the MorphoWave Compact to offer a touchless biometric payment solution.


Palm scanner payment

There are 2 slightly different technologies that come under palm scanners, both of which are not new technologies in themselves but the application as payment solutions is more recent.


The first being scanner that detects the patterns and ridges on the surface of the palm which like a fingerprint is unique. It’s not the preferred method as the probability of getting a bad image and the inaccuracy of partial prints is not favoured. The more popular choice and seen to be more secure is the use of scanners that will detect the blood vessels just below the surface of the skin, also known as vein recognition biometrics. This network of vessels is unique to each person just like fingerprints. The main advantages of vein recognition are that it does not change with age as a face does, and not accessible to be copied by criminals.


We can be certain that the future will involve more use of biometrics in different aspects of our lives. As the technology develops in its accuracy and as people increasingly look for convenience, the presence of biometric payment solutions will be welcomed by all.