Fingerprint sensors for payments and banking: Q&A with IDEX CEO Hemant Mardia

October 15, 2015 - 

On October 16th, the European Association for Biometrics (EAB) will host its second ‘Biometrics in Banking and Payments’ seminar in London, which will explore the role of biometric technologies in the financial industry.

The London event is the second of three seminars to take place this year, followed by a third seminar in Amsterdam on November 26.

One of the seminar’s key presentations will be delivered by IDEX ASA CEO Hemant Mardia, who will discuss ‘Enabling solutions for mass deployment of fingerprint based biometrics in payment/banking’.

Held at 11:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m., the presentation will address the growing integration of fingerprint sensor technology in the financial sector.

Mardia will also draw on IDEX ASA’s own portfolio of capacitive swipe and touch fingerprint sensors, which smartphone manufacturers continue to integrate into their mobile applications for the payment and banking fields.

BiometricUpdate.com recently had the opportunity to discuss the kinds of consumer deployments of fingerprint sensors, the benefits of biometric authentication in mobile transactions, and what differentiates IDEX’s fingerprint sensors and software from competing products, with Mardia.

What are the main developments you are seeing in terms of biometrics for consumer deployments?

Hemant Mardia: The first is the widespread mobile phone adoption of fingerprint sensor based biometrics on an unprecedented level. The second is the linkage of these biometrics to payment applications with an enabled and trusted ecosystem e.g. Apple Pay, AliPay. And finally, the development of industry standards for securing biometric data to the device e.g. FIDO and TEE

What do you think is the main added value that biometrics can bring to authentication in mobile transactions?

The main value is convenience and unique identification – there is no need to memorize complex passwords to authenticate and the ability to individually personalize information, This will also deliver a card present equivalent transaction reducing a significant risk premium.

Mobile smart devices are becoming more prevalent as consumers are carrying them in their pockets. How do you the envision the development path for conventional smart cards compared to that of smartphones?

Smart cards can be ideal to perform dedicated and customized functions within a closed and controlled ecosystem for example government led biometric programs, enterprise applications. In this case, the cost of the smart card is significantly less than a smartphone and has the utility of being powered through existing card reader infrastructure/NFC, and has advantages for leveraging existing trusted infrastructure. Whereas smartphones will provide a more generic application particularly geared to mobile online transactions and the ecosystem is still fragmented. There is still a massive scope for cash based payments to be substituted by smart cards that is complementary with mobile payments

What makes IDEX unique and how will IDEX’s fingerprint sensors and software enable new markets and business?

IDEX offers a unique biometric market enabler due to three factors. Our new generation off chip fingerprint sensor technology offers the best cost/biometric performance ratio. This allows us to make the sensor out of different mass producible materials for ease of integration into these devices and our advanced algorithms enable high usability/security on small area sensors in secure processing elements.

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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.