Biometrics is the most reliable and efficient method of identifying and authenticating individuals based on unique biological characteristics. COVID-19 increased the need for touch-free payments, and 74% of people in a Mastercard study confirmed that they would continue with it. Users like you and banks, retailers, and others in the payment value chain enjoy many benefits of payments with biometric smart cards. 

A recent study confirms that 88% of people want their banks to upgrade their contactless payments with biometric authenticated smart cards. Many people worldwide are now using biometric payment cards since their commercial launch in 2021. They use it to make small and large daily touch-free payments without entering a PIN code or touching the terminal. IDEX Biometrics is the global leader in designing and commercializing fingerprint sensor solutions for EMV cards and digital wallets. 

So, check out the many benefits of touch-free payments by using biometric smart cards for users, retailers, and banks to be the future of digital transformation in the financial sector. 

What are biometric smart cards?

Smart cards introduced in 1994, known as EMV or Europay, Master, and Visa cards, revolutionized payment methods worldwide. It is an EMV card with a smart chip using standard security technology for payments made by credit, debit, and other prepaid cards. However, people have to use a PIN code to use the smart cards to withdraw money or use it in POS. Because of this, there were many issues, from forgetting the PIN to someone using it to defraud hard-earned money. Also, in many POSs, using the smart card is cumbersome because of technical and other issues. 

Since biometric authentication became popular not only for entering offices or factories but also for opening smartphones and laptops, smart cards have started using it. Many people use biometric smart cards for contact only and contactless payments worldwide. It uses the cardholder's fingerprint to make payments easy and fast. The significant difference between the smart card and the biometric card is the authentication of the smart card versus the identification of the biometric smart card. 

Why is touch-free payment on the rise?

During the deadly COVID-19 period, WHO or the world health organization warned people of using keypads and even cash as the novel virus may spread. However, there were huge losses of life and livelihood by the virus, one of the positive outcomes is the rise in touch-free payment. Moreover, the best way to do it is the biometric authentication in the smart cards to provide an additional layer during money transactions. Though contactless payments have existed for a long time online and through other means, so have the many risks involved. Banks introduced the CVV code as the third layer and received OTPs in the registered mobiles. Still, many reported online fraud worldwide. Hence, the fourth layer of security, biometric authentication of fingerprints for using cards, is the new way for touch-free payments. Smartphones and laptops have used fingerprint scanners to enhance privacy and authenticate identity for a few years. It incorporated the same scanner facility in the smart card to prove identity rather than authenticate with PIN codes. 

Why are biometric cards better than smart cards?

Unlike before, when users have to insert the smart card into the POS machines, enter the PIN, and wait for the processing time to make the payment, it differs from biometric cards. It authenticates the user by identifying the fingerprint while holding the card near a contactless POS machine. The touch-free payment is completed within seconds and is made without any confusion or technical issues with the PIN, and that is not all. The security is far greater than the smart card as the biometric card provides end-to-end encryption, and there are no exploitable account details stored on it. 

How is biometric authentication enrolled in smart cards?

A simple but scrupulous enrolment process is essential to protect your biometric data on the smart. Doing the biometric enrolment is at either your home or the bank branch to install the fingerprint reference data on the card within seconds. Activating the biometric authentication smart card happens at the first POS transaction. In addition, you can go to the teller of the bank branch to do the enrolment using a secure tablet. The saved fingerprint reference data by the biometric sensor gets stored on the card's chip securely. Neither kept at the banks' server nor sent over the mail to check by a personalization bureau but remains safe in the card. The enrolment process is similar to the self-enrolment process available on select smartphone brands. Nevertheless, it is privacy-friendly and rigorous as it is critical for making fingerprint touch-free payments successfully. 

Benefits of biometric authentication for smart cards

There are many benefits of biometric authentication of smart cards to users like you and the banks, retailers, and many others in the payment value chain. A few of the benefits include. 

  1. It offers no limit for touch-free payment transactions to have the convenience of contactless payment of any amount. 
  2. Retailers can allow users to make payments for their sales and services, as there is no requirement to upgrade the POS because the biometric check happens directly on the card and not anywhere else.
  3. There is no need to enter a PIN code and have its related issue as a simple touch to the POS can complete the payment in both contact and contactless mode. 
  4. Since the biometric data never leaves the card, the security and privacy of the data are protected from not going anywhere else.
  5. Provides perfect user experience with ease for making payments because of the large fingerprint biometric sensor well positioned on the card body
  6. There is no way that anyone else can use the card as there is no chance for duplicating pirate scanners as there is the probability of two similar fingerprints being one in 64 billion. 
  7. Simple to use, simple to set up, and a win-win situation for the consumers and businesses to reduce fraud and protect privacy 

The above facts and benefits will surely convince you and the others in the payment value chain to have biometric authentication for cards with IDEX Biometrics to take payments' safety, privacy, and convenience to the next level.

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