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Biometric payment security is ready for the mainstream

The advance of contactless and mobile payment systems has increased industry focus on user safety – biometric payment security is on the rise. According to Acuity Market Intelligence, 600m smartphones already have the ability to scan our fingerprints and eyes. More and more major players are looking into the technology as the age of biometrics ramps up.

Market growth

Between 2016 and 2020, predictions have put global use of contactless payment cards at a compound annual growth rate of 33%. The smartphone payment market is also taking off – 2016 has seen Apple Pay expand into China and Samsung Pay is growing fast.

A maturing market

While Apple and Samsung have dominated markets, innovative technology is paving the way for new payment providers such as Danske Bank. Its MobilePay has proved very popular in Denmark and Norway.

Contactless payments are also evolving, with ‘Dynamic Currency Conversion’ (DCC) becoming increasingly available. This lets contactless technology users pay in the local currency while abroad, bypassing card and bank charges.

Biometric security advances

Biometrics are being implemented to counteract user distrust over security, which has had a significant impact on market growth. Visa has been touring Paris to showcase its new MorphoWave technology – this contactless payment solution captures fingerprint images from a single movement of the customer’s hand. Also on show is their new facial recognition system for authorising Visa online payments. Users take a selfie which is then scanned and approved by the payment provider’s software.

Biometrics, banks and businesses

Banks and businesses have been integrating biometric systems into their services too. HSBC is planning a huge expansion of their biometric security technology. This will allow all HSBC customers to access their accounts using voice recognition technology and the Apple fingerprint reader. Nationwide, meanwhile, is developing a ‘behavioural biometrics’ system for their mobile banking app, which recognises how a user holds, swipes or types into their device. The system is currently part of their transaction authorisation process – in the future, it could be used to access accounts.

Areas outside of the banking sector are also welcoming biometrics. For example, TalkTalk is now enabling account access using voice recognition software – this safety precaution is partly in response to last year’s cyberattack. The new system needs just a few sentences to gather over 100 unique identifiers from customers’ voices, including the shape of their larynx and nasal passages.

International money transfer

For those looking for ways to perform a cheap international money transfer, the advancement of mobile and contactless payments is good news. For easy, cost-effective and secure cross-border payments, you should also check out our trusted, FCA-authorised brokers and remember to keep up to date with all the latest payment tech trends with The Money Cloud blogs.

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