Ever since the introduction of modern payment systems, the general public has been accustomed to providing some form of authentication such as passwords, signatures, and PINs whenever making a payment. With the ever-evolving technology breakthrough, another type of identification is coming into its own, which is biometrics. This system incorporating unique differences between every single person has been widely used in Singapore, which is the current world leader of the biometrics payment.
In Singapore, 61% of financial companies have adopted or are in the process of adopting biometrics. A study carried out by Visa in Singapore also demonstrates that almost 88% of respondents had used fingerprints as a form of identification. Despite reasonable fears about biometrics that they cannot be changed if compromised, 96% of respondents in the Visa study felt comfortable using them to make payments. That could be due to Singapore’s Changi airport use of automated passport control gates with fingerprint authentication. Thus, all who enter and leave Singapore are already exposed to this technology.
Biometrics promise increased convenience, as consumers can benefit without the need to remember passwords or even carrying credit cards around. Unfortunately, there are also significant drawbacks, especially in the case of a compromise. Unlike a PIN that can be changed, biometrics cannot be altered. Thus, the encryption and safekeeping of this data are of paramount importance and requires constant monitoring of security protocols. Despite these drawbacks, biometric authentication has great potential, especially in places where literacy is low or where there is less access to banks or ATMs.