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Visa reveals growing Euro interest in biometric authentication

Visa study
FINGER ON THE PULSE: A Visa study reveals increasing enthusiasm for biometrics

More than three in five European consumers (62%) believe using biometric forms of payment authentication will be faster and easier than passwords and PINs, research by Visa reveals, with 42% believing that the procedure could completely eliminate the need for multiple passwords and PIN codes.

Over 40% of the 14,236 respondents want to use biometric authentication for purchasing things such as digital downloads, public transport tickets, groceries, coffee or fast food, shopping online, or paying at a bar or restaurant. 71% of men would prefer to use the method compared to 66% of women.

The respondents expressed the greatest preference for passwords or PINs to be replaced by fingerprint scanning, followed by iris scanning (33%) and facial recognition technology (19%). Fingerprint ID ranks most highly as a preferred option in Italy (55%) and Spain (52%), while iris authentication scores best among British (37%) and Spanish (34%) consumers.

The Visa Biometric Authentication Study — based on the responses of consumers from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK — reveals that more than four in five (81%) view fingerprint authentication as a secure form of payment — the highest out of all forms of biometric and traditional methods — followed by iris scanning (76%).

In fact, Europeans are equally as comfortable with fingerprint scanning (73%) to authenticate a payment as they are using a PIN code. However, less than a fifth (19%) of Europeans want to adopt facial recognition in place of more traditional payment methods, with only 12% of UK and German respondents and 10% of those in Sweden saying they would use it.


Nearly a quarter (23%) express discomfort with using facial recognition to make payments, increasing to almost a third in Sweden (31%) and Germany (30%).

Other barriers to the adoption of biometric authentication include the 30% worried about the embarrassment of it working incorrectly in public. 33% are worried about the vulnerabilities associated with storing biometric information, while 32% cite security leaks as the main obstacle to its useage.

Across Europe, 84% say that they would trust biometric authentication if it was provided by their bank. 78% of Europeans would trust the service from their card payment provider. Banks are also the most trusted institutions for storing biometric forms of authentication (57%) compared with government agencies and other institutions (33%).

39% of 25-34 year olds say they would be likely to switch away from their bank if they did not begin to offer a biometric form of payment, compared with 27% of over 65 year olds. 37% of men across Europe are likely to switch in such circumstances, compared to 29% of women.

Almost a third (31%) of 18-24 year olds say they are likely to move away from mobile handset providers not supplying biometric payment options in future, compared with 23% of over 65s.


“Banks have a tremendous opportunity in this payment revolution,” says Kevin Jenkins, UK and Ireland managing director at Visa. “From trialling voice recognition to behavioral biometrics for authentication, we’re already seeing banks — both high street and challenger banks alike — making positive steps to adopt this technology in a variety of use cases.

“This consumer confidence in both authentication as well as the storage of their biometric data gives banks the perfect win-win scenarios, enabling them to provide a service that the public wants which will also benefit the banks themselves.”

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