Biometric mobile payments will hit $2B this year

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Mobile payments via fingerprint, iris scan, and selfie will rise to nearly $2B in 2017, up from 600 million in 2016, according to Juniper Research.

female hand holding a white phone with app mobile wallet on the screen on a table with laptop by Image: iStockphoto/Prykhodov


Fingerprint and selfie pay are on the rise: The number of mobile payments authenticated by biometrics will rise to nearly $2 billion this year, up from $600 million in 2016, according to a report from Juniper Research, released Monday.

Apple Pay kicked off the initial growth of biometric mobile payments, allowing customers to make payments in stores and on apps using their fingerprint to access banking information. Android Pay and Samsung Pay furthered the movement toward these payments, the report noted.

Opportunities for biometric pay have been boosted by the growing availability of fingerprint sensors on phones and tablets, the report found. About 60% of smartphone models are expected to ship with fingerprint sensors this year, with many Chinese vendors incorporating them into mid-range models as well, Juniper Research noted.

But fingerprints aren’t the only biometric payment solution expected to rise: Mastercard’s Identity Check Mobile service, set to go live later this year, allows users to scan their fingerprints or take a selfie to validate their identity and make a payment. After a soft launch in 2016, Mastercard surveyed users, and found that 74% of respondents said biometrics like fingerprints or selfies were easier to use than traditional passwords. And 90% said they believed they would use biometrics for online payment security in the future.

Further, India’s identification authority recently released an app through which merchants can verify a customer’s ID via either fingerprint or iris scan, which also links back to the customer’s bank account for payments.


Mobile payments are booming: A recent report from IEEE stated that this payment method could officially kill cash by as early as 2030, as TechRepublic’s Conner Forrest reported. Increasing options for payment authentication could help speed up mobile payment adoption rates, Forrest noted.

The key challenge for biometric mobile payment service providers will be striking the right balance between convenience and security, said Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy in a press release. “Typically, the more secure the solution, the more time-consuming the authentication process,” Holden said in the release. “It is essential to offer a range of verification options allowing clients to determine what level of security is required for a given authentication.”

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. The number of mobile payments authenticated by biometrics will rise to nearly $2 billion this year, up from $600 million in 2016, according to a report from Juniper Research.
  2. The growth of fingerprint sensors and other biometric technologies in smartphones and tablets has enabled the biometric payment market.
  3. Security is a key challenge for biometric mobile payment service providers, the report noted.

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