IDEX Biometrics: Mobile Payments Only Slightly More Popular Than Checks

November 1, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

A recent report from IDEX Biometrics seems to contradict some studies out of the UK that we’d been hearing about for some time now. The study in question found that, in the UK, mobile payments systems are actually only somewhat more popular than paper checks. Just because mobile payments are down on the food chain, though, doesn’t mean that cash is king.

The IDEX Biometrics study found that payment cards—both contactless or otherwise—were the undisputed king of payments in the UK, with 75 percent of respondents coming out in favor. Cash, meanwhile, was a distant second at 21 percent. An even more distant third was mobile payments at three percent, followed by paper checks at one percent. This is just for in-store payments, so the figures change when you leave the store.

The immediate future isn’t any better for mobile payments in the UK, either; 72 percent are actively concerned over the prospect of losing access to a physical debit card, so they likely won’t be switching in any great quantity away from the card.

Moreover, 65 percent found that a physical debit card provides an active sense of security, and as such, 75 percent take their card along whenever they leave the house. A similar 65 percent actively refuse to surrender their debit card in the face of mobile payments, and 78 percent find debit cards a more comforting activity than mobile payments.

Senior vice president at IDEX Biometrics Dave Orme noted “It is time to elevate the traditional payment card and evolve authentication methods to make contactless transactions even more convenient and secure by adding seamless fingerprint biometric authentication.”

This is, of course, just what you’d expect to hear from a biometrics firm executive. To hear otherwise would be like a utility firm wishing more people would just get on solar power already and stop them having to run a giant electrical grid for profit.  

Biometrics aren’t exactly perfect, but they can certainly be a part of improved security. However, breaking the sheer inertia that surrounds the payment card system today will take a lot more than new security systems. It’s going to take years to crack that nut, but the prize of all that payment processing business can’t be easily ignored.