Digital wallets expanding to include fingerprint payments

The use of consumers' unique fingerprint presents a special opportunity for reducing fraud.

fingerprint payment
Fingerprints are a unique identifier of a person and an effective defence against fraud. Photo, Geralt, Pixabay.

The rise of credit card fraud has induced Visa to consider a new method of payment. Soon, consumers will be authorising payments through a simple scan of their fingerprint or face, rather than the use of a pin number for purchases over $100.

Given the electronic nature of a fingerprint scan, the payment option would only be compatible with those using a digital wallet.

Many consumers’ preference already lies with the use of phones to make payments, rather than cards, and its increasing convenience appeal is becoming more evident to consumers every day. Therefore, fingerprint payments will correspond with consumers changing buying habits and the increased tendency to rely on the digital world.

Security issues

The security issues associated with pins have become obvious with the extreme incidence of credit card fraud today. Since 2011, online credit card fraud has almost doubled, with a more recent escalation of its prevalence reaffirming the issue.

Consumers have become slack with their privacy efforts, with very few Australians using unique PIN codes for different cards. Subsequently, Visa is attempting to find a way of protecting consumers’ assets, without increasing the onus that falls on the shoppers themselves.

We’ve already seen such drastic changes to payment processes in recent years, namely through the standardisation of pay pass. Convenience objectives have been a key driver of these changes, but it is essential that security measures are able to keep up with these advancements.

While the shift to biometric payment methods will be effective in protecting against the stealing of credit card details that is rife in society today, it does not guard against other forms of fraud. Fingerprint scanning will inevitably conjure various types of fingerprint cloning, however it is clear that theft will be made more difficult.

Fraud detection

In addition to the changing payment methods, Visa is placing an emphasis on the detection of these crimes through structural systems. The rapid expansion of e-commerce means fraud has naturally followed the sales online, with online crimes now accounting for the majority of payment frauds in Australia.

Visa plans to upgrade its systems to deal with a significantly larger amount of data shared between merchants and banks, in hope of providing better coverage and protection for Australians.

The introduction of fingerprint payment options will require changes in the technology and standards of phones, impacting upon the base manufacturing of mobile devices.

Therefore, it will take time to implement fingerprint payments into the shopping experience, however once available it holds the potential to greatly improve security outcomes.