Canadian consumer ready to replace passwords with biometrics: survey

An overwhelming majority of Canadian consumers (85 percent) is interested in using biometrics to verify their identity or make a payment, according to survey results released by Visa.

In a survey of a thousand Canadians, Visa found that nearly six out of ten are already familiar with biometrics, with 57 percent having used fingerprint recognition, and 25 percent using it regularly. Experience with voice biometrics is less common, with 39 percent having used the technology, and only 10 percent using it regularly.

Passwords, meanwhile, continue to cause security and user experience challenges. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed consider biometrics to be easier to use than passwords, and 57 percent say they are faster. Password recycling remains common, as only 31 percent report using a unique password for all accounts, yet 32 percent say they have abandoned an online purchase because they could not remember their password.

Eliminating the need to remember passwords and PINs is the greatest benefit of biometrics, according to half of Canadian consumers, while 44 percent say increased security is.

“Advances in mobile device technology is increasing the speed and accuracy of biometrics, such that they can be used for financial transactions,” said Gord Jamieson, Head of Risk Services, Visa Canada. “This makes it the ideal time to integrate biometric technology into payments experiences for customers. At Visa, we are investing in the best ways to add these emerging technologies to our products and services.”

Canadians are concerned about the risk of sensitive information being breached (44 percent), and almost as many are concerned about biometric authentication not working or requiring multiple attempts (43 percent), illustrating the need for greater assurances from the industry to win over remaining sceptics of the technology.

The survey results show Canadians are slightly less enthusiastic about biometrics than their U.S. counterparts were in a previously reported survey, but still indicate that the current PIN and password regime is already on borrowed time.

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