News & Views - Savantor

What’s next for payments?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

So we had cash and cheques and cards and now contactless/NFC but where will payments go next? A South Dakota college is currently doing a campus wide experiment that allows students to pay for items by swiping their finger. Scanners have been placed in two shops on campus that work by simply asking the student for his/her birthday and to swipe their finger. The item is then paid for and the receipt for the item is emailed to them. The scanner checks for live hemoglobin in addition to the fingerprint in order to authorize the transaction. Fingerprint scanners have been trialed before but never really took off. But this isn’t the only potential advancement in transactional technology. There are also studies being done on using an implanted chip in a fingertip to pay for items. Now combine that with fingerprint scanners and it gets interesting. Why not have your debit card on your left hand and your credit card on your right?

The move to replace PINs may also be gathering ground. PayPal have said that "Our intention is to really obliterate user IDs and passwords and PINs from the face of the planet." Their Chief Information Security officer is also the President of the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance, a recently unveiled consortium trying to create an open standard that could replace passwords. FIDO would work by requiring users to authenticate to their smartphone or other personal device, which then authenticates to a website (such as PayPal) using FIDO's protocols. Phones could also authenticate a user with voice biometrics, eye scans or facial recognition. On PCs, there would be a browser plugin which could recognise the authentication methods that the system is capable of. A USB stick loaded with FIDO software could also work, allowing users to authenticate to computers they don't own. Google is reportedly working on similar ways to eliminate the password.

We also know that security questions and PINs have been abandoned at Barclays Wealth in favour of voice recognition technology to identify customers. This means the bank will be able to know if a customer is who they say they are after 30 seconds of talking. It’s the first time a bank has used voice recognition and the technology is being provided by Nuance, who is also responsible for creating Apple’s Siri service. The service was rated nine out of 10 for speed, ease of use and security in 93% of customer trials, and in 95% of cases customers were recognised first time.

However, as banking technology moves rapidly towards mobile and online use, we do still need to remember certain passwords for accessing our account so what we need is voice recognition which works through banking apps on smartphones.

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