Editorial

Is it time for biometrics to get higher visibility in the Digital Identity debate?

38% of UK consumers would like to see biometric methods of authentication introduced to wider Government identification such as driving licences, NI numbers and passports, claims new study

Posted 16 January 2019 by

UK consumers like the idea of biometrics, a new study is claiming – with 38% of respondents going so far as to say they’d like to see biometric methods of authentication introduced to wider Government ID schemes, including such as driving licences, NI numbers and passports.

A further 53% say they would trust the use of their fingerprint to authenticate payments more than a PIN, and 70% are concerned that contactless payment cards are leaving them exposed to theft and fraud – potentially introducing another factor into the on-going debate about the right way to deliver Digital Identity into British life.

“With the UK keen to demonstrate its capabilities as an innovative tech trailblazer and consumers demanding the introduction of biometrics in payments and for Government issued identification, it is clear traditional card-based methods must evolve to use fingerprint biometric authentication to encourage greater convenience and security,” said a representative of the company that sponsored the poll – Dave Orme, a Senior Vice President at a fingerprint ID firm called IDEX Biometrics.

“[Yet] while consumers are demonstrating demand for such innovation, a significant proportion of consumers are also showing nervousness around the use and management of biometric data by banks and Government bodies,” he added.

“The next step is for banks and Government bodies to build consumer confidence and demonstrate that personal information is far safer and better protected as a result of biometric innovation for payments, identification and beyond,” added Orme.

With 3 billion payment cards issued annually, this could presents a big opportunity for the introduction of biometrics on a global scale, added ABI Research Analyst Phil Sealy, who believes, “This is a chance to leverage biometrics and bring a convenient and secure method of authentication to the mass market for a wide variety of use cases, tackling fraudulent activity once and for all.”

The data was gathered via 1,000 interviews conducted in the UK using an online methodology against what is claimed to be a nationally representative sample of consumers.

Biometrics and its further contribution to the world of Identity is bound to be discussed at June’s Think Digital Identity For Government 2019 – the third in our on-going series of high-level conferences and expos on the future of this space.