Visa Europe considers biometric authentication for payment

July 11, 2014 - 

In his latest blog post, Visa Europe director of new payment propositions Jonathan Vaux attributes the increase in the popularity of card-on-file payment to the growing use of biometrics.

Vaux writes in response to what he views as a recent spike in the number of announcements from major players in the technology sector relating to plans to open up access, identity authentication services, and new methods of uploading private card data to the cloud.

He makes it clear that card-on-file is not a new form of technology, and that in fact, it has been around for many years. However, he points out that what is particular intriguing about the technology is that “any developer can now take advantage of these capabilities and integrate them into their own applications.”

Vaux also points out that the increasing popularity of smart devices has led to a growing number of consumers who are using many different devices to make their online purchases.

The constant act of re-entering their credit card information every time they make an online purchase has become a frustrating ordeal for customers, writes Vaux.

This has prompted retailers and service providers to try different methods of storing this sensitive information in the cloud to make it as easily and quickly accessible as possible.

“What we’re seeing now is the advent of technology enablers (e.g. APIs) which will help card on file solutions become far easier to integrate into retailer apps. This could potentially lead to them becoming the preferred solution, since this kind of instant service minimizes friction at the critical moment of purchase,” writes Vaux.

“The addition of card scan technology – the ability to use a mobile device’s camera to ‘scan’ a card – also removes one of the key barriers for the customer: the need for card data entry at the time of enrolment and registration.”

Finally, Vaux talks a bit about biometric authentication technology and its ability to even further optimize the customer payment process on smart devices by offering a fast and secure way to pull up card data stored within an app and successfully authorize a purchase.

Vaux ultimately thinks these developments will push card-on-file solutions forward into greater mainstream use, especially as “merchants develop more proprietary apps for online and face-to-face-payments.”

He closes the entry by discussing Visa’s own digital payments objective, emphasizing that this technology can help the company to achieve that goal.

“We need to develop new standards, processes and capabilities that help enable these technologies which will, potentially, help us achieve our ambitions to be the world’s most trusted currency and displace cash and cheques,” writes Vaux. “For example, we will need to recognise other forms of authentication, such as thumbprint, in our process flows and evaluate its impact on the commercial framework. As well as driving card preference in digital payments, this will also create opportunities for our processing business and for us to extend our role as a trusted broker and facilitator in the payments to include new players such as Operating Systems.”

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.