Patrik Lindeberg, COO of Precise Biometrics at Trustech: “Biometrics will replace PIN codes on payment cards”

The challenges and opportunities of biometrics in payments, which is undergoing rapid growth, was the subject of a panel discussion with four leading industry players at Trustech, the large trade show for smart cards, payments and security in Cannes.

Contactless payments with biometric smart cards came up as one of the hot topics during the panel discussion, as an opportunity to increase convenience and security for consumers. Precise Biometrics’ Chief Operating Officer, Patrik Lindeberg, addressed how contactless fingerprint payment cards open up the opportunity to replace traditional payment cards and the use of PIN codes.

“Fingerprints has a great opportunity to replace PIN’s in payment cards. I believe the tipping point will be when fingerprint smart cards support contactless interaction with point of sales terminals. This will allow card users to easily verify transactions by simply holding the finger on the sensor while tapping the card to the payment terminal,” said Patrik Lindeberg.

This year, several pilot projects of biometric payment cards have been announced, such as the world´s first successful use of a contactless payment card using fingerprint technology. Next year, the first commercial biometric payment cards are expected on the market.

“For the first time customers are driving demand for a new feature in payment cards,” said Jonas Andersson, Director of Business Development at Fingerprint Cards, who participated along with senior representatives from Zwipe and Sthaler.

Enrollment of biometric information was also mentioned as a challenge for the use of biometric payment cards. It must become convenient for the end user to enroll biometrics while meeting the card issuers security requierments.

“There are always challenges with new technologies, but the main challenge for biometrics when it comes to credit card payments is to replace the well-established concept of PIN’s, including the payment infrastructure, card issuance and current ways of working, said Patrik Lindeberg.”

Patrik Lindeberg also addressed that the growth of mobile payments increases the risks for fraud and identity theft via fake fingers.

“Biometric authentication will have to be protected by anti-spoofing and liveness solutions,” said Patrik Lindeberg, stressing that liveness detection capabilities will become a fundamental requirement for biometric authentication.

The panel did not see a need for common fingerprint template standards for payments, since each smart mobile device and smart card is a closed biometric system for authentication. The biometric template is enrolled on the card or in the mobile unit, and the storage of biometric data as well as the matching process never take place outside the closed environment. The panel did agree, though, that the biometrics industry needs to cooperate more to drive the adaptation of biometrics for consumers.