The State of Biometrics and the Authentication Process*

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Recently, payments and commerce news platform PYMNTS.com conducted an interview with Sanjay Gupta, who is the vice president of computer software company Mitek Systems.

The interview focused on the rise of the “device biometric,” which is a measure that goes beyond traditionally physical biometrics such as facial recognition features and fingerprints. Instead, this particular biometric is linked to the behaviours of individuals as they interact with their mobile devices. 

In the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, consumers around the world have opted for shopping online. Social distancing measures have encouraged them to make purchases via digital shopping carts as opposed to visiting a physical retail location. Merchants, therefore, have been prompted to make the transition to ecommerce.

In the interview, Gupta also touched upon this. He noted that amid COVID-19, individuals have avoided visiting stores. Meanwhile, merchants have been onboarding customers who they have never seen in the past. Many of such individuals have also been supplying documents and selfies in order to prove their identity. According to Gupta, that is an “area that has been growing over the past several years.”

Additionally, in more recent times, biometrics have become a significant part of the verification process. The measure has been used to determine whether or not a user is “live.” An example of this would be detecting if a user is wearing a mask to bypass security efforts. 

When it comes to “device biometrics” in particular, Gupta said that many companies are beginning to use the technology for user authentication. “The device is acting as the proxy for the individual,” he added. 

The manner in which individuals hold their devices, type on them, or even share their location using them can aid in the authentication process, Gupta explained. Once an individual’s identity has been verified, then their transactions may follow suit. 

Such technology allows businesses to change the way they process transactions, however, it should also be noted that the process of data collection can become complicated. Gupta noted that such is the case in a “fragmented regulatory landscape.” Depending on the jurisdiction, there are different laws that govern the way who can save a selfie taken for an onboarding process. 

There is a long way to go before reaching a global standard on the matter of data collection, and merchants may be challenged by the nuances when navigating unfamiliar territory. This is in addition to the issue of consumer adoption when it comes to interacting with technology. While younger users may be more accepting to new technology, older users may find it daunting. 

“If you have too much friction, the individual is not going to adopt it. If you have too little friction, that’s also a scary proposition,” Gupta said in the interview. He then noted that finding the right balance has always been an issue. 

As technology continues to change the way businesses and consumers interact, it is important for merchants to stay up-to-date in terms of payment processing solutions. PayFrame is here to provide clients with the best rates on the market. Business leaders who wish to receive further information may contact a PayFrame representative at either 1-888-668-0733 or info@merchantbroker.com.

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