Mobile payments with biometric authentication now available for UK government services

The UK government has announced the approval of Apple Pay and Google Pay to authenticate mobile payments for four government services to improve the convenience and security of service payments with fingerprint biometrics and facial recognition. The government plans to broaden the approval to a range of services later this year, according to the announcement.

People in the UK can now use Touch ID, Face ID, or biometric authentication for Google Pay, to make payments for the Global Entry Service, enabling expedited entry into the U.S., as well as for online disclosure and barring service (DBS) checks that are required for work in certain sectors. People from non-EU countries can use the payment methods for the Registered Traveller Service, which enable the use of E-Gates at the border, and those travelling to the UK from four countries in the Middle East can use it for the Electronic Visa Waiver Service. The initial roll-out will serve as a trial, mobile payments will be implemented for other central government services. Local government, police, and the NHS are expected to begin accepting mobile payments later this year.

“Allowing people to pay for Government services through Apple Pay and Google Pay means they won’t have to enter their credit or debit card information when making payments,” says Gov.uk Pay Lead Product Manager Till Wirth. “This innovation will increase the convenience and security of gov.uk Pay for users and hopefully make their experience online a lot easier.”

The UK government has had an uneven experience with biometric service authorization thus far, with HMRC’s voice biometric service proving popular, but the agency forced to delete five million records after violating GDPR by collecting them without consent.

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