Growth in biometric cards in banking and retail spurred by COVID-19

Fingerprint recognition in bank cards and palm scanners considered
Growth in biometric cards in banking and retail spurred by COVID-19

Contactless biometric applications are on the rise due to the pandemic effect, Idex Biometrics reports in a blog post.

Writing as part of the company’s biometric payment card adoption series, David Orme, vice president of Sales and Marketing at Idex Biometrics, said banks are slowly adapting to start providing cards equipped with fingerprint sensors.

According to Orne, banks in the U.S. are currently losing approximately $10 billion per annum caused by card fraud.

Fingerprint biometrics incorporated into bank cards could enhance personal identification procedures and reduce fraud, but the Idex executive warns of the inherent obstacles to the wider adoption of such payment methods. These include miniaturization, power consumption, mechanical resilience, production cost, personal privacy, and data security.

Nevertheless, the pandemic has spurred substantial growth in contactless payments, utilized for hygiene reasons, to reduce the spread of the virus.

Writing on the Idex forum, Orme says that customer acceptance of biometric cards has “probably never been higher.”

The Amazon One scanner and biometric cards in retail

A similar trend has been noticed by Peter Walker of Retail Systems, who mentioned in a blog post how Amazon’s deployment of palm scanning payment technology has shed some light on customers’ use of this technology.

Walker mentions the deployment of Amazon’s One scanner, currently on trial in its Seattle stores, which allows customers to pay by registering an image of their palm, then letting them pay by hovering their hand in mid-air.

The solution is increasingly being used by customers for in-store payments, but Walker argues that widespread roll-out will actually be subject to people embracing the technology.

Despite privacy concerns regarding the use of their biometric data, recent polls in the UK suggest some trust in the replacement of traditional security methods with biometrics.

The trend would be further reinforced by the pandemic effects, which has pushed the economy to quicker adoption of cashless solutions.

Still, some biometric modalities for payments are expected to be more widespread than others.

While fingerprint cards would be on the rise, for example, the deployment of facial recognition software may be severely hampered for all the firms whose solutions are not capable of reading facial biometrics from people wearing masks. 

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