Business, Tech

Will Biometrics Eventually Replace Contactless Payment Solutions?

Contactless cards are fast becoming the payment solution of choice in the UK, with figures from April 2017 reflecting this

At this time, there were 108.4 million contactless cards in use throughout the UK, while the £3.913 million spent during this four-week period also represented a year-on-year increase of 147.6%.

However, payment technology continues to evolve at an incredible pace, with biometric solutions already poised to replace contactless. But what are biometric payments, and when will they supersede contactless solutions?

The Development of Biometric Technology

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Biometric payment is an advanced point of sale (POS) technology that uses unalterable physiological factors to authenticate transactions. These include fingerprints and facial recognition, with a number of early adopters using a combination of factors as part of a two-level authentication system.

It has already begun to take root in the UK, with MasterCard having revealed its intention to introduce a biometric payment card. This will be launched in partnership with selected banks, while the card will include an in-built fingerprint sensor to authenticate payments. In order to verify a transaction, the cardholder will simply need to place their finger over the sensor and present this in front of a payment terminal.

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Such a product has already been released on the continent, with Gemalto having partnered with the Bank of Cyprus to supply the world’s first EMV biometric dual interface payment card. This card will initially replace all existing chip and pin cards, while elevating contactless technology onto a whole new level.

With both of these cards, the account holder’s unique biometric data will be stored in the card’s data chip, with the fingerprint sensor providing real-time verification of their identity.

Will Contactless Cards Eventually Become Obsolete?

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There’s little doubt that biometric payment technology will eventually make contactless cards obsolete, as customers are already able to complete secure transactions using just the veins in their fingertips.

A Costcutter store in Uxbridge began to accept such payments last autumn, using a fingerprint recognition sensor to create a biometric map that links directly to your bank cards and accounts. So while you may still hold a contactless card that includes your biometric data, there’s no need to present this at the point of purchase.

This represents the next step in payment technology, and one that will allow consumers to do away with pins, bank cards and wallets completely.

The Last Word

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It’s hard to argue with the secure properties of biometric technology, which utilise unalterable authentication factors that are almost impossible to replicate. This is why banks and lenders have been so quick to adopt this technology, while working closely with private firms to develop it further.

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This will not only overtake contactless payment technology in the future, but also change the way in which lenders process applications for credit online.

This is certainly an exciting space to watch, and one that will evolve at a rapid rate in the near-term.

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