Thursday, 02 December 2021 07:23 GMT

UAE consumers prefer biometrics over traditional methods for payments


(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Biometric technologies are making lives easier for consumers in the UAE by ensuring swiftness and increased security in authenticating financial transactions, a new study reveals.

Instead of traditional passwords or PINs, which are difficult to type onto tiny keyboards, easy to forget and can be stolen, new forms of authentication is being increasingly preferred by a large majority of UAE consumers simply because of the ease and speed it enables, according to a survey released by Visa.

"New forms of authentication, such as fingerprint, facial and voice recognition can make unlocking accounts and payments much easier and more convenient than traditional passwords," said the report based on a survey of 500 consumers in the UAE.

"For the payments industry, now is the time to integrate biometric technology into banking apps and customer payments experiences, particularly given more than three quarters of consumers cited they would likely switch away from companies that do not," said Neil Fernandes, head of risk for the Middle East and North Africa at Visa.

"Identity and authentication are the key to securing digital payments and the industry is gradually moving beyond what you have and what you know to who, what and where you are," he said.

James Mathew, group CEO of Crowe Horwath UAE and Oman, said biometric technology is fast evolving as a trusted authentication solution since it is becoming an issue for everyone to keep remembering old and new passwords.

The risks and vulnerability attached to passwords are increasing because often consumers are requested to change them due to various high profile data breaches. "Despite such risks, even only 25 per cent make the effort to change their passwords. If you don't update your password, you risk losing your identity and possibly your money too. Biometric technology is therefore a simple and reliable alternative to traditional passwords," Mathew said.

"With biometric systems, access is granted not by passwords or smart cards but by biological characteristics like iris scans or fingerprints which are difficult to duplicate or forge," Mathew explained.

The survey commissioned by Visa and conducted by AYTM Market Research, showed that 98 per cent of consumers would like to use at least one method of biometrics to make future payments, with 69 per cent interested in paying using fingerprint recognition and 56 per cent keen to pay using eye scanning technology.

More than three quarters (77 per cent) of consumers perceive biometrics to be faster than passwords and 79 per cent perceive them as easier.

The survey found that there is high awareness of biometric technology among consumers with over half (51 per cent) being "very familiar" and 38 per cent being "somewhat familiar."

Some 82 per cent of consumers who took part in the survey would likely switch away from a credit or debit card provider that does not offer biometric authentication in the future, whilst 79 per cent would switch banks and 77 per cent would change mobile phone provider.

One of the top benefits of using biometric authentication cited by respondents is stronger security compared to passwords and PINs (45 per cent). Conversely, one of the top concerns of using biometric authentication for payments is also security and the loss of sensitive information (fingerprint) that cannot be changed (48 per cent).

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Issac John Associate Business Editor of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.

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