Fingerprint mCommerce: Mainstream for 2015

Apple and Samsung are now up and running with fingerprint payment authentication. Their newest flagship devices can now recognise their user’s fingerprints, which are taking the place of passwords to make payments in store and online. This is a big step to lowering the friction of payments, making customers more likely to reach for their phones for an easier, uninterrupted experience. Removing the hassle of passwords and increasing the security of high level authentication is where biometric technology has been heading. After years of speculation it is now here and set to become mainstream in 2015.

Ramesh Kesanupalli, Founder of Nok Nok Labs and also a board member of the FIDO Alliance, has been instrumental in consolidating the technical standards enabling the current ecosystem now in play. When asking if fingerprint is the biometric of choice, Ramesh highlights why it looks like it is here to stay. “Fingerprint is the most natural user experience and not intrusive, while speech may have some ambience and surround noise interference and also speaking a pass phrase out into the phone may look awkward. Face and iris is another option where the positioning of your face, lighting, and angle may create a usability challenges.”

While it seems that fingerprint mCommerce will become mainstream in 2015, whether it will overtake the use of current authentication methods during this time is uncertain. John Rowlands has led the development of phone and tablet retail apps across some of the UK’s largest retail brands. He sees this process as being dependent on several factors.

“Use of biometric authentication will definitely increase massively through 2015 for devices that support it and users of these devices will prefer the user experience and appreciate the additional security and convenience. But that is only half the story. For ‘other’ devices there will be enhanced methods of authentication, which add additional levels of perception of security, like Google Authenticator, but one-time-pass codes via SMS will probably persist through 2015 as a simple and familiar first step for users and this combines nicely with the now familiar, PIN entry. It seems unlikely that biometrics will overtake more familiar authentication methods until we see more advanced hardware in non-Apple devices. Fingerprint is just a small part of biometrics, but right now, I don’t see many of the other type of biometrics becoming popular in 2015.”

With Apple Pay now officially launched we will now see the icon for this in stores and on the web from here on. Samsung are in the process of launching this functionality with China’s Alipay. I look forward following the uptake over the next few months, especially on any figures that can demonstrate a boost in mCommerce conversion rates. However there is nothing quite as revealing as seeing users interacting with new tech and of course discussing it’s merits with friends and colleagues.

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