Mastercard bringing online biometric payments to Europe

Starting April 2019, online shoppers in Europe will be able to use biometrics as a way to identify themselves when they pay with Mastercard.

Citing the increased availability of biometric capabilities on tablets and smart phones and consumers’ preference for these kind of solutions, Mastercard says that the time is ripe for enabling biometric validation solutions for digital payments.

Research from Mastercard and Oxford University last year found that 93 percent of consumers prefer biometrics over passwords for validating payments and that 92 percent of banking professionals want to adopt biometric solutions. Banks also found that when biometric authentication is used, customers are much more inclined to go through with their purchase, with abandonment rates dropping up to 70% compared to other methods.

This shift to biometrics also meets new regulatory requirements around strong customer authentication set out by PSD2 and is aimed at ensuring a smoother consumer experience and reducing unjustified declines. The card firm says that banks across Europe must offer the biometric option by April 2019.

Mastercard has been pushing the advancement of biometric technology in payments for years. Mastercard Identity Check, an authentication solution that enables individuals to use biometric identifiers, such as fingerprint, iris and facial recognition to verify their identity using a mobile device during online shopping and banking activities, is already available in 37 countries around the world.

“Biometric technologies perfectly match consumers’ expectations of getting the secure payment solutions of tomorrow, in line with the increased digitalization of lifestyles,” explained Javier Perez, President, Mastercard Europe. “This can significantly benefit consumers, retailers and banks by improving the purchase experience and better securing the transaction.”

In addition to working on standards for mobile device authentication, Mastercard has been running pilot projects for smartcards with on-board fingerprint sensors.

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