Catharina Eklof is Director of Communications at IDEX Biometrics and has extensive experience in the payments industry. She is joined by Jonas Hultin, CEO of Swedish bank Rocker, who partnered with IDEX Biometrics and Idemia in 2022 to launch Rocker Touch and become one of the first banks in the world to offer biometric payment cards at scale to consumers.
Today's payment solutions aim to reinvent the customer experience and facilitate secure transactions. Consumer needs have evolved to prioritize speed, convenience and security. First introduced 16 years ago, contactless cards have demonstrated that the demand for speed and convenience can be met: consumers scan their item at the checkout, bring their card closer to the payment terminal and, within seconds, walk away with their purchase. This consumer-centric design has transformed the customer checkout experience.
Although convenient, contactless payments are still likely to be used without authorization, which presents risks. As businesses strive to design more user-friendly payment systems, there is a demand for enhanced security and increased peace of mind.
Biometrics are based on unique human characteristics, such as facial images, fingerprints or voice, and have established themselves as a very effective and widespread means of digital authentication. Biometric authentication meets the essential convenience, speed and security requirements of the modern consumer. It saves them from having to memorize passwords or PINs, making their shopping experience more convenient and enjoyable. A simple touch of the fingerprint is enough to prove a person's identity. In addition, the uniqueness of human biometric features protects them from imitation, enhancing the security and integrity of biometric authentication.
People trust biometric authentication because it's part of their identity. This confidence is important to strengthen consumer payment assurance.
Personalize the customer experience
Biometrics are commonly used for payments, both online and physical, as well as for digital authentication and access control. This technology helps personalize and streamline the customer experience. Once a customer's biometric information, such as fingerprints, is recorded to make payments, access their medical records, or enter a building, they can bypass traditional binding authentication modes, such as entering PINs or one-time passwords, with a guarantee of security.
As a result, fast, secure and advanced biometric payment solutions have proven effective in companies' efforts to attract and retain customers.
An inclusive ecosystem
Affluent and tech-savvy users, as well as businesses, are early adopters of biometric smart cards as their consumers seek innovation, cutting-edge technology and security, especially for large transactions.
However, biometric authentication also allows underrepresented groups to participate in the financial ecosystem. People who have trouble remembering or managing a PIN, such as people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, make up more than 55 million people worldwide. Unsupportive payment environments can amplify a vulnerable person's lack of accessibility and independence in everyday situations.
Blind and partially sighted people, who make up an estimated 2.2 billion people worldwide, may face sensory barriers when entering PINs or navigating touchscreens. In this context, a biometric payment card allows transparent authentication, which increases their financial autonomy and independence. For fintechs and banks looking to differentiate themselves, biometric payment card programs allow more consumers to benefit from an inclusive payment ecosystem and fair access to financial resources.
In-depth consumer research highlights the high demand for biometric payment cards, indicating that more than 80% of consumers in 15 markets find biometric cards convenient and secure. In addition, 70% of consumers would be willing to pay for a biometric card that would give them a sense of greater security. With a fingerprint sensor built into payment cards, protected by encryption technology and a system that can detect if someone tries to hack the card, IDEX Biometrics has designed one of the most secure card solutions in the world.
Cards firmly rooted in society
Sixteen years after their introduction, contactless cards are now ubiquitous. This reflects a trend that has become widespread. Globally, there are 26 billion payment cards in circulation and the card market is growing by more than 5% per year. The data confirms that consumers prefer cards for financial transactions – and that they seek both convenience and security, to ensure peace of mind in all payment situations. With the continued growth of the card market and the demand for secure and inclusive financial transactions, biometric payment cards clearly represent the future of payments.