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Payments in Your Palm: How Biometrics Are Changing Customer Payments

Biometric payments are taking off. Here's a closer look at three common types of biometric payments and the benefits for businesses and consumers.

Commerce is evolving rapidly, thanks to technology that gives consumers more choice in how and when they interact with businesses. Whether it’s tapping a digital wallet at the point of sale or buying online and picking up in store, customers are seeking personalized shopping experiences designed with their personal preferences in mind.

The adoption of biometric payments is a testament to this shift toward highly personalized commerce. Biometric payments are authenticated using physical features such as fingerprint identification, facial recognition, and palm recognition. While biometric authentication is commonly facilitated via mobile devices, physical payment cards are now introducing fingerprint authentication built directly into cards.

Convenience and security are the two key drivers behind this shift. Smartphones are everywhere and there’s nothing more convenient than a quick tap and biometric scan on a mobile device to make a payment. The elimination of passwords and PINs allows businesses to facilitate transactions and lets customers complete sales rapidly. In addition, a face scan or a fingerprint read are inherently more secure than safety measures historically used to authenticate payments.

Three Common Types of Biometric Payments

Here are three common types of biometric payments, including palm recognition technology recently announced by Amazon.

1. Fingerprint IDs

Perhaps the oldest form of identification, fingerprinting uses the patterns unique to each person to authenticate identities. Fingerprint ID technology is a widely used form of biometric authentication, but it isn’t foolproof. Other forms of biometric authentication are evolving to combat some of the limitations associated with fingerprint IDs.

2. Facial Recognition

Facial recognition measures the distance between facial features to create unique “faceprints” that identify users and authenticate transactions. Facial recognition is a common feature on smartphones, although it can be compromised by bad lighting, awkward angles, and the presence of face coverings.

3. Palm Recognition

The announcement of Amazon One is bringing palm reading to the mainstream. Waving palms over readers allows users to make contactless payments based on their unique palm prints. Authenticating via a palm scan eliminates the need to record identifiable features like eye color and can provide users more privacy and protection.

Where will biometric payments go from here? A study from Juniper Research estimates that biometrics will authenticate over $3 trillion of payment transactions in 2025. Given that this number was just $404 billion in 2020, biometric payments are poised for tremendous growth.

If you need help leveraging biometric technology in your payment process, Paystri can help. Click here to get in touch.

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