While enterprises began introducing biometrics into the authentication process decades ago, the introduction of the technology into mobile devices was the catalyst for the consumerisation of biometric authentication. The first publicly available mobile phone to include a fingerprint sensor was available in 2011 on the Motorola Atrix 4F.
According to Veridium, since then, the consumerisation of the technology has exploded:
- Biometric use across devices – Survey respondents are using biometrics on personal devices, including their iPhones (68%), Android phones (25%), laptops (12%), tablets (11%), and smart speakers (5%).
- Most preferred identifier – The most common form of biometric identification used with cell phones (fingerprint) was also cited as most preferred by the majority of respondents (63%) over other features, such as facial recognition (14%), voice recognition (2%), or traditional passwords and PINs (8%).
- Security of identifiers – Survey respondents believe that fingerprint recognition is the most secure (50%) over the security of facial recognition (14%) or voice recognition (4%).
- Applications of biometrics – Not only are consumers using biometric authentication across an expanding set of devices, but the applications in which they are being used is also diversifying. Respondents are using biometrics to simply unlock their devices (80%), but also to access other applications including finance (35%), payments (31%), company networks (12%), travel (11%) and healthcare (10%).
Success Hinges on Transparency
As more consumers consent to using biometrics, it’s critical that companies clearly communicate how they’re using and storing this personally identifiable information (PII). When asked if they believe companies are storing their biometrics in an ethical way, more than half of respondents (57%) are either unsure or neutral. Only about a third of respondents (35%) agree or strongly agree that their biometric data is being stored ethically.
It’s important for companies to be transparent about how PII is being stored, as uncertainty could hinder adoption. This is a missed opportunity by companies, as multi-factor authentication leveraging biometrics can be a very effective layer of security, mitigating the impact of passwords stolen in data breaches or instances of identity theft.
These are scenarios that consumers know all too well, with 38% of survey respondents confirming that they have been victim of a data breach. 44% of respondents believe that replacing traditional passwords and PINs with biometric authentication would better protect their personal information.
While the majority of survey respondents (70%) would like to expand use of biometric authentication into the workplace, their preferences for doing so differs widely according to age.
- Each age group has a different reason for using biometric authentication. Millennials (those under 35 years old) value speed (46%), Generation X (ages 35-55) values not having to remember passwords (44%) and Baby Boomers (over 55 years old) value security (30%) more than anything.
- Despite being deemed the generation of digital natives, millennial respondents surprisingly prefer traditional passwords (47%) over any form of biometric authentication. This preference varies over other age groups as well. Generation X’s number one preferred biometric authentication feature is fingerprint (42%), while Baby Boomers opt for voice (30%).
- Millennials most frequently use biometrics to access financial applications such as banking apps or ATMs (46%), followed closely by payments (45%). Alternately, Generation X’s number one application of biometric authentication is for travel (41%), and Baby Boomers most use the technology for healthcare applications (28%).
- Millennials are more likely than other generations to say they haven’t been the victim of a data breach (46%). Generation X is more likely than any other generation to have been the victim of a data breach (47%).
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