Biometric mobile payment boom predicted

Nearly 2 billion biometric mobile payment authentications are expected to be made this year, according to a Juniper Research study – up from about 600 million last year.

While Apple Pay was the catalyst for initial growth, other wallets such as Android Pay and Samsung Pay are increasingly offering biometric authentication according to Juniper’s report, Mobile Payment Security: Biometric Authentication & Tokenisation 2017-2021.

Furthermore, the growth of the technology has been boosted by the greater availability of fingerprint sensors. The research shows that about 60 per cent of smartphones are expected to ship with such sensors this year, and many Chinese vendors are incorporating them into midrange models.

Juniper’s research shows an increasing momentum behind alternative biometric technology. It recognises Mastercard as an early leader in this space through its Identity Check Mobile service, set to launch this year. Informally known as “selfie pay”, it lets users scan their fingerprints and/or take selfies to validate their identities when making payments.

Meanwhile, the report says strong adoption is expected of an authentication app unveiled by India’s identification authority, through which merchants can verify a customer’s ID via either fingerprint or iris scan. As the biometric data is linked to a bank account, the process both authenticates and enables transactions.

However, the research argues that the key challenge for service providers will be striking the right balance between end-user convenience and security. As research author Dr Windsor Holden says, “Typically, the more secure the solution, the more time-consuming the authentication process. It is essential to offer a range of verification options allowing clients to determine what level of security is required for a given authentication.”

Juniper Research, which provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, offers a complimentary whitepaper, Mobile Biometric – Thumbs Up?, on its website.

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