Using biometrics to verify identity allows you to stop fraud and streamline payments. But the “Black Mirror” view of biometrics stands in the way of widespread acceptance.

When we refer to a Black Mirror view, we mean the TV show which explores dystopian alternative realities in which new technologies have led to some sort of horrible situation. But we know that’s not the case for biometric authentication.

To achieve widespread adoption, we need to take things one small step at a time. People are more likely to accept a new technology if it doesn’t impact or interrupt their day to day life too much or come too quickly.

How are biometrics being used now?

Biometric payments are already being used globally. When you take for example the iPhone which has traditionally used fingerprint biometrics and now facial biometrics as a way to unlock phones and use ApplePay. This has also opened the door for Fintech and start-ups to be able to use the hardware in the iPhone as an active feature in their product, offering security and reducing friction.

Widespread biometrics comes as a necessity to adapt to the need for convenience. We need to say goodbye to the days of carrying around pieces of plastic that can easily get lost, stolen, replicated and eaten up by an ATM. Farewell to pin codes, passcodes, secret passwords that require you to remember your great, great grandma’s middle name.

Biometrics helps remove friction from payment experiences by allowing you to make a payment any time, any place, anywhere. Something a card is simply unable to do.

Attitudes towards biometrics

Consumers can feel as if there is a battle between the customer experience and customer privacy. Issues still exist with the giving away profoundly personal information and a sense of being monitored.

Research suggests people are more relaxed about fingerprint & facial biometrics as these are commonplace with basically any smartphone on the market. However, when it comes to vein, iris, and especially behavioural biometrics – there is less willingness to accept.

Behavioural biometrics refers to the way that an individual person behaves under certain circumstances. One of the most common uses for this keystroke, where you can measure the unique way someone types and moves across a screen which isn’t too invasive. However, businesses are now beginning to document peoples behaviour in shops and in the workplace to come up with assumptions as to how to market to these people or get data about how they shop.

Consumers can be more sceptical about these passive types of biometrics because there is a somewhat lack of control over their data.

How to move forward to a positive view of biometrics

The key to widespread acceptance of biometrics and biometric payments specifically is down to the company use of data. There is a call for transparency. Transparency for the consumer, transparency from the biometric vendor and transparency from the company. By allowing your consumers to choose what aspects of their data they wish to share with an organisation you are putting the power in their hands.

It is also worth noting that for companies to become truly successful with biometrics, they actually need to offer an alternative to it, however, process heavy that may be. Because forcing biometric authentication on people who aren’t yet ready for it will have negative consequences.

SmilePass believe that biometric authentication is the answer to reducing friction in payments and identity verification the world over. We make sure we are completely transparent about the data we share and put the consumer at the heart at what we do. The biometrics market is set to grow exponentially over the next 5-10 years and SmilePass plans on being at the forefront of that. Creating trusted communities with businesses and consumers all over the world. If you want to find out more, take a look here and see what we can do for you.