More People Show Willingness to Embrace Biometrics

NOTTINGHAM, England—Most adults in the U.K. are now willing to embrace biometric identity for online banking, a new study shows.

When it comes to managing accounts online, three-in-five people (61%) believe biometric identification is either just as secure, or more secure, than the current system of passwords, Experian reported. 

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“This includes anything from e-mails and social media, to banking and pension log-ins,” the company stated.

New research from Experian highlights growing consumer confidence in this technology for identification needs. 

“In fact, it has revealed that U.K. adults are far more comfortable using biometric technology to access their online banking than their social media accounts – twice as much, 64% compared 32%,” Experian explained.

“Recent innovations have really brought biometrics into everyday life and now the majority of U.K. adults are willing to accept it as a form of ID verification for accounts,” said Ian Cunningham, a managing director at Experian. “Fear of falling victim to ID theft and perceptions about security have driven this acceptance to some degree.”

But it would be wrong to say that biometric technology should be adopted in place of passwords, continued Cunningham. “Because the best way to stop fraudsters is to make them face a number of barriers. Not just one. Criminals will always go for low-hanging fruit, so it is up to us to make our houses as safe as possible. The fewer the layers of security, the more vulnerable to theft those systems are. Of course there needs to be a balance between risk prevention and the experience of the person trying to log on.”

Unsurprisingly, fingerprint scanning is the biometric identification with which most U.K. adults are most comfortable. Two-fifths (40%) state they would be happy using fingerprint scanning to access online accounts.

Although there appears to be some reservations about retina scanning, nearly one-in-five (19%) would still be comfortable having their ID verified in this way, Experian said. Similarly, nearly one-in-10 people (9%) would be comfortable with camera facial recognition as a form of identification, while 5% stating they would be happy using voice recognition technology to unlock their online accounts.

Overall, women are slightly less trusting of biometric technology, with 56% saying they believe it is just as secure, or more secure, than passwords, compared to 68% of men. However, they are more comfortable with fingerprint scanning than their male counterparts – 43% compared to 37%, the study shows.

When it comes to retina scanning, younger users (18-34 year olds) are surprisingly the most skeptical of this form of ID verification, with only 14% saying they would be comfortable using it. Retina scanning is most popular with the older generation, with 22% of over-55s in favor of it.

“Two areas where security is vital are online banking and authorizing payments,” explained Experian. “They appear at the top of the list when it comes to what people would be willing to use biometric technology for. U.K. adults are two times more likely to trust biometric technology with their online banking than their social media accounts.”

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