Biometrics are physical or behavioral traits that, by default, uniquely identify a user. That makes biometrics one of the most secure means of authentication in online payments.
Physical biometrics commonly include factors such as fingerprint, iris scan, or face and voice recognition. Behavioral biometrics took it up a notch and observed the way users interact with the device being used to authenticate themselves. These factors range from the angle at which a user typically holds their smartphone to the speed of typing on the keyboard.
Both physical and behavioral traits are extremely hard to spoof, making biometric authentication the most secure and reliable way of validating someone's identity.
As the Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) required Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) to become a standard, biometrics were of major importance. SCA is making sure that online payments are processed using multi-factor authentication, meaning that the user must verify their identity using two out of three factors from the following categories: knowledge, possession, and inherence. The inherence part represents ''something that the user is'', and therefore, relies on biometrics.
3D Secure 2, enhanced with SCA requirement, adopted biometric authentication as one of the standard methods for authenticating cardholders. This update brought improved customer experience and satisfaction because of less friction during online payment processing. Merchants and issuers thrive on biometric authentication because of reduced chargeback costs and cart abandonment rates. All thanks to heightened security measures and a straightforward authentication process enabled by biometrics.
There are many benefits biometric authentication provides to its stakeholders.
Biometrics provide unmatched protection against fraudulent activities taking place in the online payments environment. Even if a fraudster gets a hold of the cardholder's pin or password, multi-factor authentication involving biometrics makes it hard, if not impossible, for the perpetrator to fake a fingerprint scan in order to process a fraudulent payment.
Although the technical backend responsible for successful biometric authentication is complex, the user's point of view is simple and convenient. Biometrics are quicker than standard authentication methods involving PINs and passwords containing special characters and uppercase letters. Also, oftentimes, the users can't keep track of their credentials due to the extensive amount of accounts an average person owns. Passwords can be forgotten. Fingerprints, on the other hand, not very likely.
PINs and passwords are often shared. Sometimes to a trusted party, other times to a fraudster with bad intentions. Biometrics are non-transferable, meaning that the rightful cardholder has to be present upon authentication in order for it to be successful.
Biometric authentication relies on physical traits that are unique by default, meaning that there is no other person who shares that same feature. Additionally, physical factors such as face patterns and iris scans are extremely hard to replicate with today's technology.
Alongside existing biometric factors, others are waiting to be researched and implemented, becoming the standard trait used for biometric authentication.
One of those fresh features is vein-patterning. A blood vessel pattern on a person's hand is also a unique trait and can be used for authentication. Veins on a person's hand are mapped using infrared light. It is considered one of today's most advanced identification methods, even more precise than iris scans.
Gait recognition is based on a person's locomotive system. Supposedly, we all walk a bit differently and use different hand movements while doing it. Based on that fact, the idea of gait recognition came to life and might become a standard authentication method in the biometrics category.
We are excited to be apart of future development by implementing biometrics in our solutions!