It’s been another tumultuous year as the COVID-19 pandemic has raged on, and the biometrics industry has seen its share of disruption just like so many other sectors. Nevertheless, the technology has continued to advance across various fronts, and there are reasons to be excited about a number of innovative application areas – which is why one of the most interesting questions on this year’s FindBiometrics Year in Review Survey asks which emerging application area will deliver the most growth over the next five years.
One of the most notable candidates is surely biometric payment cards. Various fingerprint biometrics specialists have been quietly working on solutions in this area for years, and despite the difficulties that 2021 has presented, the year has seen considerable progress toward the mass commercialization phase for fingerprint-scanning cards.
It certainly kicked off with a bang. January brought the news that BNP Paribas, one of the biggest bank brands in the world, would begin rolling out a biometric payment card from Thales in France during the first half of the year, with plans to extend the offering through all of its branches in the country later in 2021. This was perhaps the biggest commercial launch of fingerprint scanning cards yet, and surely prompted some of BNP Paribas’s competitors to take notice.
Soon after that came the news that Samsung and Mastercard had teamed up to develop a biometric payment card. It was an unusual and unexpected development, given that Samsung is primarily known as an electronics company; but its prominence as a global brand, added to that of Mastercard, offered another signal that biometric payment cards are ready to be taken very seriously as a commercial prospect.
Beyond these important developments, 2021 also continued to deliver a string of strategic partnership announcements as various interests positioned ahead of large-scale production and rollout efforts, and ongoing technological innovation, such as the new biometric payment card reference design from IDEX and Infineon.
All of this activity bodes well for biometric payment cards going forward, but does it suggest this area will outperform other emerging application areas like mobile ID, automotive biometrics, and ‘naked payments’? That’s a question for those participating in the FindBiometrics Year in Review Survey, and it should yield some interesting results. The survey is still open, so be sure to make your two cents count by answering the questions bellow and help us get the clearest picture of the biometrics industry we can get going into 2022.
December 20, 2021 – by Alex Perala
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