Visa looking for partners to integrate biometrics in payment process

May 6, 2015 - 

Visa is currently scouting for industry partners to research ways in which it can integrate biometrics to authenticate payments, according to a report by Banking Day.

George Lawson, Visa Australia and New Zealand’s head of emerging products and innovation, delivered a presentation at the CeBIT Australia conference that highlighted how biometrics, authorized internet connected devices and contactless payment systems could streamline the payment process.

Australia currently has the highest adoption rate of contactless payments in the world with 60 percent of card transactions being contactless, resulting in 70 million transactions a month, said Lawson.

By using biometrics, the industry could further reduce payments friction, as long as consumers were comfortable with the idea, Lawson said.

“We are looking to work with industry on the issue,” said Lawson. “If I use a biometric how can I re-use that in another instance on the device?”

Lawson explained how the user experience would be inherently improved as there would be no need to re-authenticate the payer each time.

However, he emphasized that the biometric data and authentication processes would have to be managed by a trusted party in the payments process.

Although Lawson did not say whether Visa was willing to assume this responsibility, the credit card giant is currently offering a tokenization service in the U.S. to help secure a range of online payments.

One major benefit of this process is that only the token needs to be replaced if it is stolen, and not the entire card. And since tokens are unique to a specific device, it is impossible to take a token from a mobile phone and use it on another device.

Lawson said that tokens would also support payments made in the future using wearable technology or internet connected devices.

Lawson declined to comment on when Visa will begin offering the tokenization service in Australia. Meanwhile, head competitor MasterCard is already offering its local tokenization service in Australia.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.