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MasterCard study and pilot show consumers are embracing digital payments, biometrics


MasterCard and PRIME Research revealed the results of the fourth annual MasterCard Mobile Payments Study, which found that consumers are increasingly embracing digital payments options including biometrics.

The study found a total of 2 million global social media posts addressing mobile payments across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Forums, Google+ and YouTube, reflecting a significant increase from the previous 85,000 posts reported in 2012.

In addition to this increased interest, the study found that for the third year in a row there has been an overwhelmingly positive sentiment about mobile payments technology.

“As more choices are made available to them, the conversation has evolved and consumers seem to be fully embracing the next generation of payments,” said Marcy Cohen, vice president of digital communications at MasterCard.

Some 97% of digital wallets including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay and MasterPass dominated the total mobile payments conversations in 2015, which mostly involved product launches, service improvements and how users are evaluating them.

Aside from discussions about digital wallets, social media conversions were driven by contactless cards (47%), biometrics (33%), personal payments (14%) and wearables (6%).

Conversations about contactless cards addressed the expansion of global adoption at public transit systems such as those in London and St. Petersburg as well as availability at major sporting events across the globe.

Additionally, discussions about wearables in the last quarter of 2015 were more than 30 times higher than the first quarter of 2015.

Digital wallets are also seeing a rise in social conversations worldwide, with the last year seeing an increase in every region including Asia Pacific (+159%), Europe (+144%), Latin America and the Caribbean (+20%), Middle East and Africa (+111%) and North America (+519%).

Meanwhile, the safety and security of mobile payments continues to drive conversations, as 94% of consumers continue to maintain a positive or neutral view of the services being offered to them. This represents a 3% increase over last year and 24% above the initial 2012 study.

The elimination of passwords and biometrics were among the most engaging topics in 2015, reflected in social conversations in 163 countries worldwide.

Fingerprint and electrocardiogram (ECG) payments-related technology became an engaging topic for users throughout 2015, while facial recognition (“Selfie Pay”) was the top driver (55%) of biometrics-focused conversation.

In another MasterCard study, First Tech Federal Credit Union was one of two global partners in fall of 2015 to help MasterCard test biometrics payment authentication using the MasterCard Identity Check.

Through the app’s facial recognition and fingerprint matching capabilities, First Tech employees successfully verified the authenticity of online donations made to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

At the end of the pilot, participants were asked about what they thought about the technology and how easy it was to use:

Based on these findings, 88% of participants said that biometric authentication was overwhelmingly easy to use on its own while 86% of respondents said they found it even easier to use than password-based authentication.

Additionally, more than 90% of participants said that biometric payment authentication is a method they could see themselves using on a daily basis.

Based on the success of the initial pilot, First Tech said it plans to launch a market-ready implementation of the MasterCard Identity Check mobile app once it is made available in the latter half of 2016.

First Tech and MasterCard will provide an in-depth presentation on the pilot’s findings at Card Forum Expo, held April 12-14 in Los Angeles.

The presentation will be delivered by Brian Ziff-Levine, director of cards and payments at First Tech, and Catherine Murchie, MasterCard’s SVP of processing, enterprise security and network solutions.

Earlier this month, MasterCard unveiled new research which shows New Zealanders are embracing digital payments with 49% expecting mobile devices, biometrics and wearables to replace cash in ten years’ time.

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