Time for evolution for biometrics

Time for evolution for biometrics

Michel Roig, President of Payment & Access at Fingerprint Cards, takes a look at some of the trends, developments and players responsible for making 2022 a big year for biometrics and ensuring the foundations are in place for a transformative 2023.

Biometrics have well and truly embedded themselves into the world of security as 2022 proved to be an exciting year as the use of biometric technology expanded rapidly across the globe. In the payments ecosystem, major commercial banks continued to rollout innovative biometric cards and momentum increased steadily as users experienced the heightened convenience, hygiene and security of contactless biometric payments. Payments security represents only a portion of the growth in biometrics, though. New use cases for secure access solutions fuelled innovations, raised consumer awareness and created further demand.

Demand grows for contactless biometrics payments cards

It’s not surprising that cards now beat cash as the most popular method for in-store purchases. According to Fingerprints’ research, globally, 73% of in-store payments are made using cards, with 50% of these being contactless. The boom in contactless payments comes at a price, however, as the lack of authentication threatens to widen the gap between security and convenience. At the same time, evolving banking regulations are working to enhance security for digital transactions. Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), required by the Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), is pushing the contactless payments market to enhance authentication. For in-store contactless card payments, CA requirements are met through PIN input when reaching spending limits. This is clunky and confusing for users. As are spending caps. Additionally, Fingerprints’ research found that half of regular contactless users are worried about the lack of security if their card is lost or stolen. With biometric payment cards, consumers experience both security and convenience for in-store contactless transactions as only the authorised user can make purchases. Plus, it eliminates the need for a spending cap.

On the lookout…

In the coming months, keep an eye out for more banks rolling out biometric payment card solutions to meet growing consumer demand and embracing biometric technology as a means of offering greater security, and differentiating themselves from the competition. The numbers indicate that this might be a good strategy: over half of consumers report they are willing to pay extra for a biometric payment card. In addition, 56% of issuers have also said they could bundle biometric cards with other value-added services, creating new differentiation in the market and compelling propositions for current and potential cardholders. Besides supporting customer acquisition and retention, biometric technology can help drive revenue by reducing fraud while increasing transaction volumes.

The people making it happen

Several global players are championing efforts to meet this spike in demand for biometric security. Infineon Technologies is collaborating with Fingerprints on the development of a plug-and-play turnkey solution for biometric payment smart cards. Infineon’s goal is to make biometric smart card production as simple and easy as producing a standard dual interface payment card. In parallel, FEITIAN unveiled a new solution, using our technology, that enables biometric authentication to be executed entirely within Infineon’s newly approved secure element. Tag Systems has also launched an advanced biometric payment card solution with us so that banks and fintech companies can offer their cardholders the enhanced convenience and security. Together, Technical Equipment & Supplies Company (Tesco) and Fingerprints are supporting the adoption of contactless biometric payment cards in the Middle East and North Africa(MENA). Meanwhile, the launch of two more biometric payment card solutions in Morocco underscores the widespread demand for the adoption of biometric security solutions across MENA. In Asia, the Beautiful Card Corporation(BCC), a leading card manufacturer based in Taiwan, is collaborating with us on the development and launch of cards with biometric authentication for payment transactions as well as for physical and logical access applications.

The rise of biometric security for cryptocurrency

Consumers are increasingly relying on biometrics to authenticate payments, but traditional finance is not the only sector benefiting. Crypto-currencies represent anew frontier for biometric security applications as Decentralised Finance (DeFi) proliferates. Security is always a concern, but particularly for the high-volume and value transactions made by the bulk of cryptocurrency users. Introducing biometric authentication to improve secure storage and access to cryptocurrency makes sense because it can provide an additional layer of security to cryptocurrency storage and authentication.

Growth and innovation in biometric access control

The proliferation of biometric solutions for access control has sparked innovative new solutions to support the design needs of this dynamic market. At the sometime, the rise in remote work has created new challenges for biometric physical and logical access control solutions and enterprise cybersecurity teams have been forced to rethink access control while confronting highly sophisticated threats. New biometric technology, such as sensor innovations, offer new levels of security functionality that support many different applications and use cases. Components with improved power consumption, smaller profiles, and interoperable designs are enabling the creation of new access control solutions, like Freevolt’s S-Key, that aim to bridge the gap between physical and logical access and provide a unified access security solution.

Smart locks ensure faster, safer, more convenient user experience

The Internet of Things (IoT) revolution means many people now lead increasingly connected lives, demanding a new level of functionality from common household items. The drawback to connected living is the need for users to constantly authenticate themselves when doing routine tasks. Today’s consumers need a seamless way to access and authenticate across a growing list of devices found in smart homes and buildings. Biometrics can be the gateway to smarter living, replacing vulnerable physical keys, passwords and PINs and making people the keys to smart homes and buildings. Biometrics can help users to seamlessly enter their homes, manage smart alarm and entertainment systems, access personal preferences and set parental controls. In a single motion, users can secure valuables like bikes, suitcases and safes or restrict access to hazardous areas such as medicine cabinets and cleaning cupboards. Nuki is one of the companies using biometric technology to make homes smarter. This European leader of smart access solutions has launched a new smart keypad that uses fingerprint sensors to ensure faster, more secure and convenient unlocking of smart doors.

The workplace of the future

Homes are not the only place getting smarter and more secure with biometric access control solutions. Modern, digital-first workplaces are integrating biometric technology into employee workflows in accordance with zero-trust security frameworks. For logical access, biometrics can be viewed as the first step-in zero-trust strategies creating secure unified authentication for the hybrid work environment. Password-less authentication for access control provides hybrid workforces with additional, robust protection that a modern-day business requires. With the help of biometric technology, passwords will soon become a relic of the past. One example of this is Smart Displayer’s FIDO2biometric card, working to bring trust to a wide range of logical access applications.

R&D driving the growth of biometrics

Fingerprints is proud of the role it plays in driving innovation and moving the biometric technology industry forward. In2022 we hit a number of key milestones, including achieving 500 registered global patents, ranging from sensors and hardware packaging technology to algorithms and biometric image processing; the T-Shape sensor module and software platform achieving compliance with Mastercard’s new Fingerprint Sensor Evaluation process; and shipping 1.5 billion sensors worldwide since 2014. As biometric technology continues to be deployed across new applications and use cases, Fingerprints will remain at the forefront of research and development, ensuring that the highest level of innovation is possible across all verticals and sectors – enabling greater privacy, security, and stronger authentication for consumers around the world.