Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

68% of Europeans want to use biometric authentication for payments

Over two thirds (68 percent) of consumers across Europe are interested in using biometrics when making a payment, especially when integrated with other security measures.


According to new research from Visa, 73 percent see two-factor authentication as a secure way to confirm an account holder. Responses were collected from more than 14,000 European consumers in the UK, Sweden, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Poland.


Online retailers have the opportunity to gain the most from biometric change as 31 percent of people have abandoned a browser-based purchase due to the payment security process.


“This study proves that there is a strong desire on the part of consumers to have secure AND frictionless user experiences when interacting and transacting online. The desire, however, might not match up with the reality of the situation. Physical biometrics such as fingerprints, selfies and voice authentication are seen by some as the ‘holy grail' in user authentication, but they aren't fool-proof, and there are other challenges that may block their widespread adoption in non-face-to-face interactions,” said Robert Capps, VP at NuData Security in emailed commentary to


“Passive biometric solutions identify suspicious activity in a completely passive and non-intrusive way by understanding how a legitimate user truly behaves in contrast to a potential fraudster with legitimate information. So, even if the fraudster has your spoofed fingerprint, and all of your account information, organisations can look at your behavioural events, biometrics, device, geography and other layers to determine if you are the real actor behind the device or fingerprint,” Capps continued.


Half of Europeans (51 percent) said that biometric authentication for payments could create a faster and simpler payment experience than traditional methods. A third (33 percent) are content and take comfort in the fact that their details would be safe even if their device was lost or stolen.


Over half (53 percent) prefer fingerprint authentication to other forms of biometric authentication for payments. Nearly a quarter (73 percent) are as comfortable with fingerprint authentication as they are with PINs.


Far fewer consumers say they prefer voice or facial recognition as a payment method whether physically shopping in a store (12 percent) or shopping online (15 percent). In the UK, the figures fall for voice or facial recognition as payment forms to eight percent for physical store shopping and 15 percent for online shopping.


“As we move into the future, consumers will have an increasing number of choices in how they pay. Just as the payment behaviour will change dependent on where you are and on what device you are shopping, the methods of authentication will need to be use-case appropriate. While biometric forms of authentication offer significant opportunities to achieve the right balance between convenience and security, they are not the only answer. In the future we will see a mix of solutions dependent on the purchasing situation. By adapting our standards to recognise these technologies as valid forms of authentication now, we can help provide the environment for payments to continue to take place securely, conveniently and discreetly,” said Jonathan Vaux, executive director of innovation partnerships at Visa Europe.

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