IDEX Biometrics is once again calling attention to the benefits of biometric payment cards during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a new post on the company blog, Sales and Marketing SVP David Orme argues that contact-based payment methods are doubly risky in the current environment because they are both less sanitary and less secure than contactless alternatives.
On the health front, Orme notes the coronavirus can spread through physical contact, which means that there is always a risk of transmission when people are exchanging cash or interacting with a device like an ATM or a PIN pad. Contactless payment cards eliminate that risk, allowing customers to complete purchases with only a simple tap.
Fraud, on the other hand, remains a threat regardless of location. According to Orme, financial fraud went up approximately 46 percent between 2017 and 2019, much of which concerned the misuse (or theft) of debit and credit card numbers. Even though many mobile phones now offer biometric authentication, the apps themselves may still be vulnerable, especially if the developer is storing people’s personal information in a central database.
Biometric payment cards with a built-in fingerprint sensor represent a potential solution to that problem. Since the print is stored locally on the card, the user’s biometric data is not shared with any other party, including the financial institution that issued the card. It also offers strong security, since fraudsters will not be able to make purchases without the user’s fingerprint. As a result, biometric cards can offer higher payment caps than other contactless cards.
Of course, IDEX is already providing fingerprint technology for several biometric card solutions. FEITIAN and Tongxin have both achieved China UnionPay certification with cards that feature IDEX sensors. The company is also working with Zwipe and IDEMIA on a card pilot that is expected to reach the commercial phase in 2021.
July 24, 2020 – by Eric Weiss