Financial Biometrics Month: The Primer

Biometrics and financial technology have converged in a very powerful way. FindBiometrics was recently in Las Vegas for Money20/20 – a major FinTech conference – to host a biometrics in commerce panel, and it was clear from the ground floor: biometric authentication is becoming absolutely essential in the financial services space. Financial institutions and service providers are turning toward biometrics for security and convenience, and sure enough, customers are embracing these solutions.

November is Financial Biometrics Month at FindBiometrics and, as usual, we are kicking things off with a primer to get you up to speed on the most recent trends and headlines regarding this featured topic.

Biometrics and FinTech in 2015

money2020 2015 featureWhile biometric ATMs have been in active deployment for quite some time around the world (particularly in Latin America), the widespread use of biometrics to authenticate banking transactions and payments has only recently been achieved. As mentioned above, this year’s Money20/20 had a major biometrics focus, the audience for the biometrics focused panel having doubled in size for the year previous. Now, with leading companies on both sides of the equation representing the post-password paradigm, we are really starting to see an explosion of innovation and adoption in fiancial biometrics.

As a whole, the financial biometrics sphere has reached an exciting, and in some ways critical, space. EyeVerify CEO Toby Rush recently called for a payment grade security standard for biometrics, indicating the sheer range of vendors in the market and a need for specifications to protect consumers and relying parties. New reports are calling for massive numbers in biometric financial transactions before the end of the decade, and MasterCard’s quarterly fiscal report has already been positively affected by its embrace of biometric authentication.

The following links will provide some context to the biometrics and finance landscape of today:

EyeVerify CEO Calls for Payment Grade Standard for mPayment Biometrics

Biometrics Are Paying Off For MasterCard

Biometrics Bigger Than Ever at Money20/20

Biometric Transactions to Reach Five Billion by 2019: Report

FIDO Welcomes ING and USAA to Board

Mobile Wallets

Mobile payments, online banking.Last year at this time, Apple Pay was the talk of the mobile payments town. The mobile wallet from Apple, protected by the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor, was a major step forward in consumer biometric payments. Now, there is a great amount of interest in the space that Apple carved out. Samsung Pay and Android Pay both allow users to make in store purchases via their handsets, and Microsoft is moving in on the market too with an upgraded Windows Wallet. Alipay is a player here as well, with company leadership that believes the end of the mCommerce password is nigh.

Apple Pay Launches in UK

Samsung Pay Now Available on Verizon

Android Pay Gets US Launch

Microsoft Prepares Next Iteration of Windows Wallet

Alipay VP: mCommerce Passwords Dead in Three Years

Mobile Baking

cashBanks have turned to biometrics too, especially when it comes to authentication on their mobile apps. USAA’s banking app, for instance, features Daon-powered biometrics, allowing for voice, face and fingerprint modalities to authenticate access. Recently, the company announced that one million users of the USAA app have enrolled their biometrics for this express purpose. Different banks have opted to use Touch ID and other smartphone-embedded biometrics for access, and Canada’s RBC has even announced it’s own mobile wallet.

Here are just some of the ways biometrics are being used by banks:

RBC Announces Biometric Mobile Wallet

British Banks To Customers: Don’t Share Fingerprints

Scotiabank’s ‘Digital Factory’ to Explore Biometrics

World Bank, Accenture Call for Universal ID

A Million Users Have Signed Up for USAA App’s Biometrics


multimodal biometricsWhile fingerprints are often most associated with consumer financial biometrics, they are far from the only game in town. Earlier this year the world’s first wearable payment authenticated via heartbeat biometrics, Eyeprints (the vein patterns in your eye) are increasingly finding adoption in commerce, and face and voice recognition technologies are combining for multi factor verification. The following links should give you a good sense of how diverse the biometrics in finance landscape is in terms of modality.

Nymi Heartbeat Biometrics Authenticates Wearable Payment

VoiceVault Biometrics to Protect Payments

First Internet Bank Implements Eyeprint ID

ImageWare Brings Biometrics to Online Auctions

Money 20/20: Mitek Shows Off Photo Verify ID

Daon Highlights Success of Biometrics in USAA Mobile App

Credit Cards


MasterCard and Visa are two globally recognized financial service providers and both have turned to embracing biometrics as the future of transaction authentication. MasterCard is piloting a facial recognition mCommerce solution, as well as a fingerprint sensor sporting credit card, and championing biometric tokenization. Meanwhile Visa has been piloting its new biometric EMV standard.

Here are some key headlines made by Visa and MasterCard in the realm of biometrics:

Pilot Project Underway for Visa’s Biometric EMV Standard

First Tech and MasterCard Pilot ‘Selfie Pay’ System

MasterCard Emphasizes Importance of Biometrics, Tokenization

Visa Steps Up Efforts in mPayment Expansion, Biometric Security

Beyond mCommerce

Credit CardsIt’s not just mobile biometrics driving strong authentication in finance. Phone banking (as in, transactions performed through a call center) is being transformed by voice recognition like that offered by the Royal Bank of Canada. A new ATM from Diebold uses iris biometrics for authentication while some PIN terminals in England may begin to feature facial recognition. Finger vein and voice are used by Barclays for its corporate customers and in Andhra Pradesh iris recognition is used to authenticate pension payments. Here are just a few of the ways biometrics in finance stretch beyond the smartphone:

JCB Introduces Palm Vein Payments

UK Payments Processor Considers Facial Recognition for PIN Terminals

Biometric Authentication Secures Barclays Corporate Banking

Money20/20: Diebold Brings Iris Biometrics to ATM

Indian State Adopts Iris Scanning for Pension Payments

RBC Introduces Voice Authentication Via Natural Speech

Manulife Implements Nuance Voice and Speech Recognition


Stay posted to FindBiometrics throughout November as we continue to bring you a featured examination of biometrics in finance. Follow us on Twitter and tweet using the hashtag #FBFinTech during Financial Biometrics Month to be a part of the conversation.

November 5, 2015 – by Peter B. Counter