Fingerprint Cards (FPC) is arguing that biometric payment cards will make German consumers feel more comfortable with cashless payment options. In that regard, the company noted that Germans have historically demonstrated a strong preference for cash, and have been more mistrustful of cards due to security and privacy concerns.
However, that trend has been shifting in the past few years. According to a survey from the German Payment Systems Initiative, debit and credit cards have finally eclipsed cash as people’s preferred in-store payment method, thanks in large part to the 47 percent of consumers who deliberately reduced their use of cash.
FPC, meanwhile, credits that trend to the convenience of contactless payments, and to external factors like the COVID-19 pandemic. On that front, just over a fifth (21 percent) of German consumers had sanitary concerns about cash, while 24 percent had similar worries about shared touchpoints like PIN pads. Contactless cards eliminate that risk and are therefore a more hygienic payment option.
In terms of efficiency, contactless options are popular because they let people complete transactions more quickly, and that convenience is winning over a growing percentage of the German public. A full 60 percent now use some kind of contactless payment option, a figure that is up from 47 as recently as 2020.
For its part, FPC is hoping that biometric technology will help accelerate that trend. Biometric authentication adds an additional layer of security during a contactless transaction, and allows financial institutions to support bigger sales. Contactless transactions have accounted for 50 percent of card transactions since Germany raised its limit from €25 to €50, and that figure should continue to climb if contactless tech can be used for more high-value deals. It would also get rid of some of the confusion about when and where a PIN is still required.
Like the residents of other European countries, half (51 percent) of the German public would rather have a biometric card than a traditional one, and many would even be willing to pay (46 percent) or switch banks (31 percent) for the privilege. FPC stressed that biometric cards only store an encrypted template (instead of a raw fingerprint image), and that that template is never moves beyond the card itself. As a result, it is extremely difficult for a fraudster to use a card even if they do manage to get their hands on one.
July 5, 2022 – by Eric Weiss