The smartphone is the first to offer universal mobile payments secured by fingerprints
The feature takes advantage of the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S5 and related developer tools, which support the FIDO authentication standard.
Integration between PayPal services and the smartphone hardware was announced at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Experts suggested at the time that it looked like a move against Apple, which was the first to introduce a fingerprint sensor in its iPhone 5S, but refused to open it up to third-party applications.
Initially, biometric PayPal authentication is available in 25 countries, including the UK. It could be seen as the first serious attempt at universal mobile payments secured by physiological markers.
The waterproof Samsung Galaxy S5 features a 5.1 Super AMOLED screen, 2.5GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. It runs the latest version of Android (4.2.2 KitKat) and ships with either 16GB or 32GB of storage, which can be expanded by up to 128GB through a MicroSD card slot.
A fingerprint scanner is included on the home button of the smartphone to validate user’s identity and enable ‘private mode’ which unlocks personal files such as photos and documents. The fingerprint scanner can also be used by third-party applications – this has led PayPal to develop an app which allows customers to pay for goods and services online with a swipe of their finger, without the need to remember any passwords.
Galaxy S5 is the first smartphone to feature a sensor that uses the FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance authentication standard, developed by a consortium of IT companies with input from the inventor of SSL Taher Elgamal. Besides Samsung, its members include Google, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Lenovo, MasterCard and RSA.
“Customers can use their finger to pay with PayPal from their new Samsung Galaxy S5 because the FIDO Ready software on the device securely communicates between the fingerprint sensor on their device and PayPal’s service in the cloud. The only information the device shares with PayPal is a unique encrypted key that allows PayPal to verify the identity of the customer without having to store any biometric information on PayPal’s servers,” previously explained John Lunn, director of PayPal Developer Network.
PayPal is also releasing an app for Samsung’s Gear 2 and Gear Fit smartwatches to enable their owners to get payment notifications and check their balance without taking out the phone.
Meanwhile in South Korea, customers have been able to buy the highly coveted smartphone since late March, as three of the country’s largest mobile network operators attempted to cash in on the new hardware before a sales ban.
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