Do Current Biometric Trends Mean Better Security for Merchants?

Biometric technology keeps raising the bar.

What began with Apple’s unveiling of the very successful fingerprint biometric authentication system prompted financial institutions around the globe to create fingerprint ID technology for their customers. Now, businesses and consumers alike can access their bank accounts simply by placing a finger on the home button of their mobile devices or placing their phone in front of their faces. A few financial institutions also successfully took biometric technology in the direction of voice recognition. Some implemented both fingerprint and voice recognition for authentication as a dual layer of security.

Does this mean that eventually, passcodes will be eliminated completely?

The verdict is still out.

Not everyone agrees that facial recognition or voice recognition is more secure than fingerprint ID or security passcodes. Credit card networks like Visa and MasterCard have been piloting different biometric technologies over the past few years, which will speed up the overall transition from passwords to biometric authentication if that’s the direction we’re headed. But, many are still skeptical about security issues. For instance, sometimes the facial recognition doesn’t recognize the face it’s supposed to. Apple says they’ve addressed this with their unique Apple FaceID that uses a True Depth camera meant to scan your face to make sure it’s really you. It doesn’t work all the time, though.

Issues with PIN and password authentication.

Some experts believe that facial recognition and voice recognition technology are safer than using PINs, passwords, and passcodes. These numbers and letter combinations used to protect personal data can easily be hacked, especially when merchants are not PCI compliant, to illegally access valuable personal information. More specifically, PINs have been a big problem since there are 20 most common combinations of four-digit numbers and more than 25% of these combinations are currently in use. Apple addressed this issue by switching to six-digit authentication on devices, but users can switch back to four digits if desired.

Fewer digits could mean easier hacking. Biometric trends, like Apple’s FaceID, are being marketing to consumers much more for the convenience than the security, although, Apple says FaceID is much more secure than fingerprint authentication unless of course you “have an evil twin.” In that case, Apple advises using a trusty old passcode.

As a merchant, what does this mean for your business?

Are the current biometric trends going to help or hinder you when it comes to security and fraud? Having a combination of authentication methods like passwords, plus facial recognition or voice ID, seems to be the most secure option at this point since no single technology is foolproof – something the biometric industry leaders do agree on.

Does your business need a multi-factor biometric authentication system

Many online and mobile banking organizations are considering implementing multi-factor biometric authentication systems to include some combination of fingerprint, retina recognition, facial, voice, and even heartbeat recognition. These industries have a significant amount of personal, sensitive information at stake. It’s important for them to stay ahead of any potential security breaches. The healthcare industry is another sector that is considering customized biometric solutions to protect their clients’ and patients’ personal and medical information. These multi-faceted and customized biometric solutions are meant to increase security, reduce fraud, and provide a complete audit trail for both customer and employee activity.

They also aim to create a higher level of accuracy for patient ID. Currently, it appears that financial institutions and the healthcare industries will reap the biggest benefits when it comes to biometric authentication. For most merchants, it’s just not cost effective (or practical) to implement a customized biometric technology. Perhaps as more consumers update to iPhones and other devices equipped with the biometric technology intended to increase security, the more merchants will benefit from it, as well.

Looking ahead.

When Apple perfects its FaceID, or even increases its ability to accurately identify the user 100% of the time, mobile payments and purchases will be safer for merchants when these customers make purchases using their mobile devices. Additionally, as biometric solutions are being implemented for multiple payment use, and leveraging smartphones for point-of-sale purchases, businesses should see a decrease in fraudulent purchases and therefore fewer chargebacks and fees. Mitigating the risk of security breaches and protecting sensitive customer data are two of the many concerns which biometric authentication may offer a solution. And for merchants, that’s certainly a good thing to know as we continue to use and update to the latest technologies.

Mitigating security risks and technical support.

Consider partnering with an experienced third-party merchant security service to help you understand the latest biometric trends and to keep your payment processing system functioning around the clock. The financial experts at Merchant Broker conduct a thorough analysis of all your merchant accounts and identify any area that needs improvement, including your payment processing technology and security. We take any fraudulent activity and chargeback trends into consideration in our analysis.

Merchant Broker makes it our mission to negotiate on your behalf to increase your bottom line against fraud, refunds, and unnecessary revenue losses from chargebacks and processing fees. We have more than 10 years of experience making sure your accounts are secure, PCI compliant, and providing the expert chargeback support you need.

Learn more about partnering with Merchant Broker so you can be prepared for the changing face of biometric technology. Contact us today to get started.


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