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Visa study shows European consumers ready to adopt biometrics for payments


Visa Europe has released the results of its new Populus-commissioned study that finds that European consumers are interested in using biometrics for payments, particularly when they are integrated with other security measures.

The research was conducted between April 22 and May 6, 2016 in the UK, Sweden, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Poland, and surveyed a total of 14,236 consumers with around 2,000 people per country.

Seventy-three percent of respondents view two-factor authentication as a secure way to confirm an account holder, while 68% of people said they want to use biometrics as a method of payment authentication.

Online retailers have the most opportunity for gain as 31% of respondents admit that they have abandoned a browser-based purchase because of the payment security process.

“Biometric identification and verification has created a great deal of excitement in the payments space because it offers an opportunity to streamline and improve the customer experience,” said Jonathan Vaux, executive director of innovation partnerships at Visa Europe. “Our research shows that biometrics is increasingly recognised as a trusted form of authentication as people become more familiar with using these capabilities on their devices.

“However, one of the challenges for biometrics is scenarios in which it is the only form of authentication. It could result in a false positive or false negative because, unlike a PIN which is entered either correctly or incorrectly, biometrics are not a binary measurement but are based on the probability of a match.

“Biometrics work best when linked to other factors, such as the device, geolocation technologies or with an additional authentication method. That’s why we believe that it’s important to take a holistic approach that considers a wide range of enabling technologies that contribute to a better end-to-end experience, from provisioning a card to making a purchase to checking your balance.”

Additionally, 51% of Europeans state that biometric authentication for payments could create a faster and easier payment experience than traditional methods, while 33% like the fact that biometric authentication ensures that their details would be safe in the event that their device was lost or stolen.

With the advent of mobile payments, 81% of consumers view fingerprint recognition as the most secure biometric authentication method, followed by iris scanning (76%).

Additionally, 53% said they prefer fingerprint over other forms of biometric authentication when using it for payment, while 73% stated that they are as comfortable with fingerprint authentication as they are with PINs.

Meanwhile, 12% of respondents said they would prefer voice and 15% said they would prefer facial recognition as a payment method in a range of payment situations whether shopping in person or online. In the UK, these figures drop to 8% and 12%, respectively, for voice or facial recognition as payment forms.

In terms of tying security details to the ability to protect one’s own identity, 67% of consumers said they recognize the importance of this correlation.

The research found that biometric authentication is almost equally valued in face-to-face payment situations where speed efficiencies are a priority as it is for online transactions.

Other major findings include 48% of respondents said they want to use biometric authentication for payments when on public transport, 47% want to use biometric authentication when paying at a bar or restaurant, 46% want to use it to purchase goods and services on the high street (e.g. groceries, coffee and at fast food outlets), 40% want to use it when shopping online, and 39% when downloading content.

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