Visa study finds Australians prefer biometrics over PINs for payment authentication

July 20, 2017 - 

Visa released its sponsored YouGov study that found that Australians are slowly accepting the idea of making payments via Internet of Things (IoT), as long as they can use biometrics for authentication, according to a report by ZDNet.

The report states that 29 percent of Australians are comfortable with the idea of using internet-connected devices, such as a virtual assistants or smart fridges, to make payments.

The figure, which more than doubles the 12 percent reported in September 2016, is despite the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) statistic that 71 percent of IoT devices and services used by Australians did not adequately detail how personal data was collected, used, and disclosed.

In addition, privacy and security standards have not been fully established in Australia.

The YouGov study, which is based on the responses of 500 Australians in May, found that 56 percent of respondents said they would prefer using fingerprints, voice, or retina scans than PINs when making payments.

Forty-five percent of Australians said that increased security was one of the key reasons for adopting biometrics, while 40 percent said the convenience of not having to remember a PIN or password as a top reason.

In addition, 39 percent of respondents said that they are willing to share their personal information in exchange for convenience.

Visa said that many new payment methods are enabled through biometric authentication.

Stephen Karpin, group country manager for Visa Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific, said Australia is “on the brink of a new era of commerce”.

“As the Internet of Things and biometric capabilities become integrated into our everyday experiences, we’ll experience a significant shift in how payments are made,” Karpin said. “In our lifetime, we will see infinitely more choice in how Australians pay, from watches, fridges, and mobile phones, to eyes and fingers. And we’ll experience personalization that we never thought possible, powered by artificial intelligence.”

There are currently more than 3 billion Visa cards accepted at 44 million merchant locations.

With the current proliferation of connected devices, Visa predicts there will be 30 billion different methods of paying across 400 million physical and digital acceptance points.

“This hesitance to share personal information in exchange for convenience is an important insight,” Karpin said. “At Visa, we believe in responsible innovation — that is, ensuring that security is built in from the start and that no new technology or capability comprises the integrity of the payments ecosystem. Australians are sophisticated adopters of technology and it’s essential that we continue to assure them of the security of their information and identity.”

In April, the Australian Attorney General’s Department revealed it is planning to add up to 12 million passport photographs to its Face Verification Service this year, which prompted recommendations from a privacy rights organization to appoint a biometric commissioner to protect the privacy of Australians.

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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.