CNP Expo: Biometrics – Something You Are, Something to Learn

May 20, 2015

CNP Expo: Biometrics – Something You Are, Something to Learn Biometrics are becoming more popular with banks and merchants as a way to prevent fraud and reduce friction in the purchasing process. Ron Mazursky, managing director at Market Innovations, led this morning’s session, which ranged from privacy concerns to merchant and service issues.

Panelists highlighted the fact there is no silver bullet, and even within biometrics, there is no single “best” option. Shawn Edmunds, vice president of North America at ValidSoft, said his company “chose voice authentication because the act of using your voice to power devices is perceived as normal—people are using Siri, they talk to their car. And it’s not a cost to the merchant, because most people have a mobile phone with audio capabilities.”

David Lott, Retail Payments Expert for Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said companies have traditionally used username and password because it’s simple to put into place, and, for very basic functions, is a very solid method of authentication.

“But, as you increase the risk of the transaction,” Lott said, “you need to increase the hurdles to get over for the transaction, and those additional hurdles could be some form of biometrics.”

Michael Orlando, CEO and co-founder of FitPay, emphasized the need for multiple methods of authentication using data a fraudster would be hard-pressed to replicate. His company uses data collected by wearable devices to authenticate the customer’s identity.

“In today’s world where there is a shift in moving to mobile, it creates a good opportunity to use multiple types of data and biometrics to enable a multi-layer authentication from a mobile device,” he said. “We look at data like how many steps you take daily on average, how many hours you normally sleep and where—that’s tough for a fraudster to replicate.”