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Banks trusted most to deliver biometric authentication of the future

The UK is placing its trust in banks over government agencies to protect their biometric data such as fingerprints and iris scans, according to new research from Visa.

Consumers are nearly twice as likely to trust banks to store and keep their biometric information safe (60%), than they are to trust government agencies (33%).

When asked who they would trust to offer biometrics authentication as a service to confirm identity, the largest percentage selected banks (85%) and payment networks (81%) ahead of global online brands (70%), and smartphone companies (64%). This level of trust has grown significantly in the past two years, up by 20 percentage points from 65% in 2014, when the Visa Biometric Payments study was first conducted.


Nearly two-thirds of consumers (64%) want to use biometrics as a method of payment authentication and familiarity is increasing the comfort level of British consumers.

The growth in fingerprint authentication for mobile payments is bringing to life the benefits of biometric authentication, which is why 80% of the people surveyed said they were the most comfortable with fingerprint recognition.

Fingerprint authentication (88%) is also viewed as the most secure form of payment, ranking higher than other biometric authentication options such as iris-scanning (83%) and facial recognition (65%).

The research reveals how banks need to mobilise to provide these payment solutions and meet growing consumer appetite for biometric authentication methods, especially among younger consumers. A quarter of 18-24 year olds (25%) are likely to switch banks that didn’t offer this service, compared with 17% for other generations.

“Banks have a tremendous opportunity in this payment revolution. From trialling voice recognition to behavioural 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,” says Kevin Jenkins, UK & Ireland Managing Director at Visa.

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

Visa is already supporting a number of institutions in the development of emerging forms of authentication. We will continue our role as an enabler of payments and will remain tech agnostic when working with banking partners to ensure that new and emerging forms of payment authentication take place securely, conveniently and discreetly.”

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