Categories: Security

Consumers ‘Overwhelmingly’ Prefer Biometric Security For Financial Services

Both banks and their customers favour the use of biometrics in consumer financial services, but adoption remains sluggish due in part to the lack of technical know-how within financial institutions, according to a new study.

Research carried out by MasterCard and Oxford University found consumers overwhelmingly preferred biometrics – such as fingerprint or iris scans – over passwords or PINs for authenticating payments or other financial services, with 93 percent indicating their preference.

Knowledge gap

A similar proportion of banking professionals – 92 percent – said they wanted to adopt biometrics, and the end-user tools are in place, with consumers increasingly owning mobile devices that include fingerprint or iris scanners.

But relatively few in the banking feel they’re qualified to bring in the new technology, with 36 percent of banking professionals saying they had adequate experience and 64 percent of technical professionals saying they had little or no experience with the technology.


MasterCard, which provides a biometric technology called Identity Check Mobile that authenticates using fingerprint or facial recognition, said the findings show consumers are ready for financial services companies to press forward with biometric authentication.

“They’re driving the trend toward a password-free future where digital identity is all about who we are, not what we remember,” stated Ajay Bhalla, the company’s president of global enterprise risk and security.

Industry framework

He argued biometrics are a more secure alternative to passwords, which are no longer fit for purpose in an environment in which users have up to 90 online accounts, with 25 percent forgetting at least one password per day.

A full one-third of online transactions are currently abandoned at checkout due to forgotten passwords, the study found.

To support the deployment of biometrics MasterCard and Oxford University have developed a five-factor best practice model that gives pointers on accuracy, ease of use, interoperability with upcoming technologies, security and the protection of users’ biometric data.

Bhalla said MasterCard sees the framework as a broad initiative to which industry, academia, governments and technology vendors can contribute.

“This framework is fundamental to accelerating the deployment of mobile biometrics for consumers and industry alike, but collaboration is key,” he stated.

The study, “Mobile Biometrics in Financial Services: A Five Factor Framework”, is available from San Francisco-based Opus Research, which is planning a webcast on the topic next month.

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Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

View Comments

  • Folly, biometric end user hardware and supporting software and associated algorithms have been perfected and in use for the past several years by governments, and other high security facilities, including intelligence agencies worldwide. Possibly a pushback platform of misinformation has led to controversial articles in the media and press, there is no need to reinvent the wheel since it has already been in use for a while. The existing stakeholders in that space need to be convinced to release the matured biometrical hardware and algorithms with supporting programs and software already developed and in use. That is what is not what biometric stakeholders in that space wish to see, undermining virtually every secure access point they have provided their clients. Well then the need will need to be as big or bigger then their client base before they will consider bringing mature biometrical hardware to the masses. It is apparent this road has been crossed a long long time ago, there is so much more but I rather not insult the intelligence of the masses nor Fintech nor you. So please think and delve a little deeper, quick pro quo reactionary opinions in this space does not hold up when critiqued. A renaissance approach is needed, but the renaissance started a long long time ago and methodologies are already perfected and in use, just not in the commons.

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