New Zealanders Increasingly Prefer Biometric Mobile Payments

May 16, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Security in mobile payments has been one of the field’s dominant issues. A lot of potential users have stayed out due to a perceived lack of security in mobile payments. Security’s come a long way, as evidenced by a recent Visa study that found that most New Zealanders want biometric security in their mobile payments system, and consider it a top benefit of any mobile payments system.

The study found that 88 percent of respondents wanted to use biometric authentication tools, and considered the sheer convenience involved in not having to remember a personal identification number (PIN) or password the best benefit a system can offer. This actually dovetails well with the rest of the study, which found that only 29 percent used a unique PIN or password for their accounts, a move that would make biometric security much more valuable as those non-unique PINs and passwords would end up as part of a two-factor authentication system.

Visa’s country manager for both New Zealand and the South Pacific, Marty Kerr, noted “For the first time, our biometrics authentication standards effectively substitute the need for a PIN on purchases over $80. This means that if a device meets Visa’s new standards, we believe its biometrics reader is as secure as entering a PIN on a merchant’s terminal. Five years ago, the idea that entering a PIN could become a rare experience would have been almost unbelievable. Yet Kiwis are demanding more innovative ways to pay, and security needs to move at the same speed.”

Biometric security has a lot of appeal, and for good reason. It’s even stronger than the strongest passwords, because it’s next to impossible to replicate without some really devious, science-fiction-level operations. Better yet, it’s next to impossible to forget. You might forget a PIN or a password, but forgetting your eye or finger is the kind of thing you notice, and right away, too. The combination of high-end security with ultimate ease of use makes it one of the greatest security products around.

It’s not foolproof, but biometric security for mobile payments is a powerhouse alternative that provides an excellent protective layer against potential breaches. It’s small wonder New Zealanders prefer it, and it will likely make its way into more products there, and potentially beyond.