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By Garry Duursma, Head of Acceptance Innovation and Development, Mastercard
The use of digital technology is rapidly changing the way both businesses and consumers behave in almost every aspect of our lives. This is one area of constant development and opportunity is the realm of digital payments. According to IDC, worldwide mobile payments are expected to increase 124 percent from 2015 to 2017. APAC is expected to lead the world in mobile payment developments, driven by a high number of initiatives and a diverse mobile commerce maturity level.
"We’re moving toward a future of greater convenience, but also greater safety and security."
Australians in particular, have not been shy to try and embrace new payment technologies. Australia was the first market to launch Mastercard’s MasterPass in March 2014 and since then the market has also exploded with new mobile payment options – with payment capable mobile devices now ubiquitous as well as numerous bank specific apps that utilise mobile contactless payment technology.
As Australia, APAC and the rest of the world continue to embrace innovation in payments, we’re moving toward a future of greater convenience, but also greater safety and security. While using passwords to access personal information has been the standard security practice, a recent research found that roughly half of people never change their passwords on online financial accounts and a similar amount use the same password for multiple online accounts. Two-factor authentication was an early answer to strengthening the security of password-guarded information and finances. But as we look into the future, the use of technology and data will evolve from a reliance on what the user knows (passwords) and what they have (mobile phone or other smart device), to who they are. Ahead of today’s CIOs is the opportunity to reach that “who they are” space by leveraging emerging digital technologies to ensure the highest level of security for their digital-savvy users.
While it used to be a concept reserved for science fiction films, the use of biometrics – metrics related to human characteristics – is becoming a reality. By 2019, approximately 50 percent of smartphones are expected to integrate an embedded fingerprint sensor and the number of fingerprint sensors embedded in devices is projected to grow from 499 million to 1.6 billion units from 2015 to 2020.
Beyond fingerprints, companies like Eyelock and Ergo are experimenting with iris authentication and ear biometric technology. Even facial recognition technology – which is currently being utilised daily on platforms like Snapchat – can be employed for security purposes. For example, Mastercard recently launched Identity Check Mobile, a new payment technology application that uses biometrics like fingerprints and facial recognition. Identity Check Mobile is activated by using a smartphone camera to take a ‘selfie’ to verify a cardholder’s identity.
Biometrics is one of the most unique identifiers available to us and applied to digital payments can vastly reduce the occurrence of fraud, and increase the security of personal information. Security is paramount to the successful growth of digital payments technology and investing in digital technology as an enabler of security will be a determinant of future success for any bank or other service managing personal information.