It has been almost three years since Apple first introduced the Touch ID fingerprint scanner to its devices. While, this was not the first time that a mobile phone manufacturer integrated a fingerprint biometric authentication solution (this was Sharp back in 1999), it was seminal in that it was integrated into one of the most popular and iconic smartphones. Touch ID has proven to be the most popular model, emulated by other mobile manufacturers. In fact, if a high-end smart phone doesn’t get shipped with a fingerprint sensor, that becomes news.
However, growing acceptance of biometrics is not confined to fingerprint sensors on smart mobile devices. There is growing evidence that biometrics is becoming a very popular method to prove identity across a wide range of technologies.
Rising Consumer Acceptance and Adoption
The pressing need to provide convenient, strong consumer authentication on a range of different platforms and devices has led to the growth of biometrics. With all new technologies, consumer acceptance is vital to adoption. We have strong evidence that, given a choice, consumers would opt for biometrics over other authentication technology, which are starting to be viewed as insecure or inconvenient.
A recent poll by Gigya revealed that 52 percent of consumers want biometrics to replace passwords. When asked, 80 percent of the polled consumers stated that they believed biometric authentication to be more secure than passwords. The survey also says that user adoption is not just driven by fingerprint biometrics. Although 38 percent are using fingerprint biometric systems, other biometric modalities are also being used, with 15 percent using voice recognition and 11 percent using facial recognition. For an emerging authentication technology these are impressive adoption statistics.
More evidence of the growing demand for biometric authentication was highlighted by biometric smart card vendor, SmartMetric, in a consumer survey of credit card users in the United States in May 2016. The survey discovered that there is growing concern over credit card and identity fraud, with 80 percent polled being concerned about the issue. Furthermore, 67 percent of these consumers are so concerned over this threat that they would be willing to pay for a biometrics secured credit card. This is a remarkable response, as it is highly unusual for consumers to pay for security in the digital world. The combination of convenience and added protection has created tangible consumer demand for biometric security.
Financial Services Driving Demand
The financial services sector is a very active one for the adoption of biometrics, and at Goode Intelligence we have been extensively researching this market. In a series of analyst and market forecast reports published in the second half of 2015, we predicted that over 120 million consumers used mobile-based biometrics during 2015 to help secure access to bank accounts and to authorise payments.
This included a variety of applications in both banking and payments, including mobile biometric payment solutions like Apple Pay, facilitating cardless ATM withdrawals in Brazil, and authenticating millions of bank customers when accessing telephone contact centers.
We are at the beginning of the adoption curve with consumer acceptance expected to steadily grow in the coming years.
I believe that there are positive signs that consumers are primed to accept biometric authentication in large numbers. Biometric authentication is fast becoming a reality, enabling financial institutions to rollout new digital services that support robust and convenient user authentication. Industry standards, such as IEEE 2410 Biometrics Open Protocol Standard (BOPS), provide a common authentication framework that is user-centric and robust enough to meet the rigorous demands of the financial services industry.