Amidst the uncertainty being experienced with regards to public health and economic stability, it may be worth looking back on certain technological developments to try to find a way out.
As nations around the world implement various lockdown measures to try and contain the spread of coronavirus, social distancing has become a trending topic of discussion.
Now, the possibilities granted to us by technology might seem more relevant and more urgent than they did before.
In a world where handing people wads of cash may have become outdated, could biometrics - an advanced form of authentication - be the key to pushing contactless payments even further?
It's a step up for digital security
First and foremost, biometric authentication can act as a remarkable innovation that fortifies digital security. Identity solutions are quickly becoming a common part of online safety, especially as consumers become aware of the weaknesses in conventional and outdated authentication methods.
A simple password might not be enough anymore, and biometric verification seems more like the future when dealing with many aspects of the digital sphere. This includes contactless payments, as part and parcel of a more convenient, instantaneous mode of transaction processing.
Biometric demand is coming from diverse markets
Although determined by different factors and a multitude of market maturity levels, biometric card adoption is spreading gradually. A diverse payments landscape means that the trend is being driven by different priorities. Mature regions, for example, might prioritize card fraud (which is an aspect that biometrics can help tackle).
In a less mature, emerging economies, establishing a higher level of trust or building a reputation through social applications might be more of a priority. Either way, the core technology remains the same and this indicates a movement towards innovative payment card technology that caters to both established and emerging economies.
It's a way to stay safe during the coronavirus outbreak
As the coronavirus outbreak sets in, worldwide panic has ensued, and a number of payment providers and financial institutions are championing the use of contactless payments. Going contactless could help prevent the virus from spreading further, and that's reason enough to advocate its implementation. Users can wave their card in front of a device without actually touching it. Many companies are even exploring contactless payments in the form of biometrics and ways to build biometric readers into payment hubs.
There's potential for further integration
Biometrics as a form of authentication can lead to more innovation, and consumers are positioned at the centre. If businesses can develop a structure that integrates contactless Point of Sales (POS) systems found in shops and banks, with biometric payment cards and other components, then this new technology could help shift the payment authentication methods away from flawed practices. Security can be reinforced at every touchpoint, and rely on who we are and what we can physically prove instead of what we know or can remember (like passwords). A contactless biometric authentication, OkayFace, is suitable for a stringent verification as it is imposed with a highly secure liveness detection component. With this technology, it can prevent or reduce cross contamination. It's a valuable transition that can help businesses keep ahead of the curve and elevate the payments industry.
Since many companies are searching for creative ways to protect customers from theft and other fraudulent activities, biometric ATMs could lead to a new era of financial protection. Biometric payment cards can bring customers more seamless user experiences and greater flexibility.
Biometrics such as fingerprints could be a major step forward over illegible signatures or even conventional PINs.
The biometric scan may be the only customer identification used, or it may be used in combination with other forms, such as a credit card, mobile device or additional security credentials, such as a PIN. Overall, it seems that businesses that deal with transactions at any level might be left behind without some form of biometric or contactless payments system.