$5.6 Trillion in Mobile Payments Secured by Biometrics in Five Years

October 5, 2015         By: Steven Anderson

Right now, biometrics almost seems like a toy, a science-fiction construct with too much of the “gee whiz” angle to it to mean much in serious fields.

A new report from Goode Intelligence suggests that this once great staple of science fiction is about to be a big name in reality, coming to mobile payments with a promise to secure trillions of dollars worth of payments.

The Goode Intelligence report—titled “Biometrics for Payments – Payments Security Gets Personal; Market and Technology Analysis, Adoption Strategies and Forecasts 2015 – 2020”—projects that by 2020, biometrics will be responsible for protecting a treasure trove of mobile payments worth a combined total of better than $5.6 trillion dollars.

That $5.6 trillion, at last report, will be spread out over 226 billion transactions, so each transaction might run about $25 on average. That implies that Goode Intelligence is looking for a lot of little transactions in the mobile venue, not so much many larger-scale transactions.

The biggest drive behind this huge advance, meanwhile, is a combination of factors. The increasing use of mobile payments in general starts the snowball rolling, but this is quickly followed up by a demand for greater security that’s also more convenient to use.

Since the password / username combination that served us so well for years is starting to show its age, users are looking to the comparatively foolproof biometrics to take over. So take the mobile payments users—around 350 million at last report—already in place that want better security, add on the increasing numbers of mobile payments users in general that want likewise, and the end result is a lot more payments secured by biometrics.

The report’s author—who also serves as founder of Goode Intelligence—Alan Goode offered up some comment around the report, saying “An important message from this report is that biometrics for payment use is not just a mobile theme.

We are seeing increased activity across a wide range of payment types with distinct regional variations. Outside of the North America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions, where mobile biometric payments will dominate, we are seeing biometric technology in a variety of payment scenarios including its use directly at physical point-of-sale terminals and by using biometric cards.”

Though the numbers may not ultimately jibe as Goode Intelligence expects—any number of things could happen in the meantime—if things proceed as currently seen, it’s a fair bet we’re going to see a lot more mobile payments taking place secured by a thumbprint, a voiceprint, or any of several other possibilities. We’re already starting to see this with things like Apple’s Touch ID system, and the equivalents in Android and the like are beginning to follow. So to suggest that a lot more users will be making the migration to biometrics really isn’t that outlandish at all.

We’ll likely see a lot more of this starting up in the near-term future, but in the meantime, keep a watch; biometrics will likely be a bigger part of the mobile payments picture than a lot of people thought.