Biometrics technology and other new developments in the mobile payments market
The mobile payments market is vulnerable to changes in banking regulations. However, while some services are being withdrawn, at the same time completely new solutions appear. As new guidelines from the Polish Financial Supervision Authority force banks to change their offerings, global giant Amazon wants to patent selfie payments, and U.S. banks begin testing the possibilities offered by eye biometrics.
The twilight of electronic payment purses
The issue actually started with a negative assessment of prepaid cards by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority. The reason is supposed to be the lack of payment from the funds in the technical accounts of prepaid cards, contributions to the mandatory reserve of the National Bank of Poland. Despite the fact that banks do not fully agree with this opinion, they politely one by one withdraw such cards from their offer.
Prepaid cards, offering anonymity in Internet transactions are not the only solution questioned by the KNF. The Financial Supervision Authority also includes electronic payment wallets to such tools. We can assume that this is one of the reasons why PKO BP decided to withdraw IKO purse from its offer. In the official announcement we also read that the bank decided to focus on the development and improvement of the full version of the application and abandoned offering and maintaining its truncated form. Earlier this year, in January. Pekao SA stopped offering Peopay service to new customers.
Biometrics in mobile banking
Probably no one today needs to explain the convenience of logging on with Touch ID. Fingerprint biometrics has been used for quite a long time to verify identity. Its reliability is highly rated – the possible elements interfering with the reading are deformations and dirt on the finger. This login method has been recently popularized on smartphones and tablets. Banks have taken advantage of this fact by introducing such a possibility in their mobile applications.
Biometric technology allows to omit the need to remember the PIN code and provides additional security for the device. Recently such an option has been available to mBank customers who have its mobile application installed on iPhone’a. PKO is already thinking about a similar opportunity for the customers of its services and has announced the introduction of this service at the beginning of the coming quarter. Anyway the number of banks offering biometric technology is systematically growing. Touch ID can already be used by customers of Millennium, ING Bank Slaski, Euro Bank and Citi Handlowy. The drawback is that the solution is so far available only to iPhone’owners. Only users with Millennium accounts can also use biometrics on smartphones with Android. Outside our country this direction of development of its mobile services has been introduced for example by HSBC bank.
Besides, biometric technology is not only a fingerprint, but also the arrangement of blood vessels in the finger (a few years ago, PBS Bank enabled such identification in some ATMs for its customers), face and voice biometrics. Retina biometrics is recently tested on its corporate clients by Wells Fargo, using a solution called EyeVerify. So it is safe to say that biometric technology seems to be making a career in mobile banking for now.
Popularization of using banking services via smartphones mobilizes other institutions to introduce mobile applications to their offer. Credit Agricole – which so far has not banked on mobile – also announces the implementation of a mobile application and large investments in the development of innovation and new technologies.
Selfie no longer only on Instagram
News – Amazon has filed a patent application for an application that allows payments via selfie. Transactions of the future may omit the need to enter a password and replace it with a selfie. New technology is to allow identification of a person using facial recognition. During the identification process the person making the transaction can also be asked to perform an action such as smiling, blinking or tilting his head to get an additional level of security. Amazon is so far rather reticent to comment on the new solution, because at the moment it is in a rather early stage. However, when all the work on the application is finished, it may turn out to be a real milestone in simplifying online shopping.
Contactless payments by Google
Finally a breakthrough solution from Google. Hands Free is a new, completely contactless payment system offered by Google. If the user has on his smartphone with Android system Android Pay application, he should turn on the Hands Free option in order to be able to use it. During the transaction in the store you should inform the staff about the willingness to use the Hands Free function. The cashier, after connecting to the shopper's smartphone, gets the shopper's photo on the terminal to confirm identity. Cameras for automatic identification are currently being tested. Contactless Hands Free payments eliminate the need to bring the smartphone close to the terminal as is done in contactless payments, for example.
For now, the Android Pay app with Hands Free functionality is undergoing testing in select locations across the United States. After their success, it will certainly be expanded to other countries, including hopefully Poland.