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Visa outlines plan to push Australian banks to adopt biometric authentication


Visa has unveiled a four-year plan to push Australian banks to build infrastructure and implement policies to adopt biometrics authenticated transactions, according to a report by The Australian Financial Review.

The credit card giant’s security roadmap details a four-year strategy for Aussue banks to adopt new standards for ecommerce transactions in an effort to streamline the purchasing process and reduce fraud, as well as implement new information sharing practices and tokenization technology.

Visa Asia-Pacific senior vice-president Joe Cunningham said the company is working towards making the purchasing process simpler, faster and more secure for consumers, adding that all future transactions will be authorized biometrically.

“What we want to get to is this totally fluid, on-bound experience,” Cunningham said. “You’re on a journey on the train, or at the airport, and you’re browsing and see something interesting on the web and you want to perform a transaction to buy it, or gift it. No one wants to remember the 16-digit card number and type it in. You will be able to use your fingerprint, that’s embedded in the Visa checkout experience, or the merchant’s online service.”

In addition to online transactions, Visa’s standards also supported using fingerprints for face-to-face transactions.

“Today and into the future people expect to be able to use their phones as an alternative to cards and so long as it’s a contactless device, they will simply be able to use their fingerprint as authentication,” Cunningham said. “Sometimes you won’t even need a fingerprint, you will have the control, but transactions over $100 will need it as authentication.”

The Australian roadmap is part of Visa’s broader global strategy to push the financial services sector to adopt its new innovations in a secure way.

The company has different versions for the US, Canada and Asia markets, which have been strategically customized to the banking environments in the respective countries based on consultation with key stakeholders, he said.

He said the local series of recommendations focused mostly on the ecommerce environment, as this is where Visa had found the largest growth in transactions and fraud risks.

The company’s roadmap calls on banks to implement new 3D secure authentication protocols, which replace the existing 15-year-old version as well as to use tokenization to replace the PIN system.

Adopting these new procedures would ultimately help share more data between card companies, the banks and merchants and a devaluation of data, Cunningham said.

He said there is currently little data being shared between merchants and banks, however, the new protocols would allow them to track and authenticate 11 pieces of data.

“You may be shopping at JB Hi-Fi and you’ve been a member there for 13 years. They will know a lot about you, that you’re a regular shopper, which account is used on a regular basis and that you shop online only on Fridays from the same IP address,” he said. “They will also share information on what device you’re using and the issuer will pass information back as well. Then if something looks different, they will know to double check it’s the right person making the transaction by sending a one-time passcode to their registered mobile asking them to enter that piece of information.”

Cunningham said the innovation would reduce the number of transactions which require human interaction, albeit in a “dynamic way”, which would be relatively unnoticeable to consumers.

Last month, 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.

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