April 12, 2021

Biometrics-powered payments to double by 2025, on the face of it anyway

By Eric Johansson

The use of facial recognition to secure payments is set to double by 2025, according to Juniper Research. The company also expected fingerprint scans and voice-recognition usage to grow in the next four years.

Starting with facial recognition, Juniper Research’s new report estimated that the number of global users utilising these solutions will skyrocket from 671 million in 2020 to 1.4 billion by 2025. The growth is expected to be fuelled by the amplified pervasiveness of solutions like iPhone Face ID. An example of the market’s growth is the fact that facial recognition startup NtechLab raised $15m in a funding round in September last year.

However, Juniper Research market analysts noted that only 17% of smartphones are predicted to feature facial scans in the future.

That’s a noticeable contrast to fingerprint scans, which are set to become ubiquitous over the next four years to feature in 93% of all smartphones by 2025. And it won’t just be in phones, tablets and phablets. Case in point, Mastercard and Samsung unveiled a new fingerprint-enabled payments card in March this year.

Similarly, the report noted that voice recognition for payments is expected to grow from 111 million users in 2020, to over 704 million in 2025. Researchers though expected that this growth will mostly remain within the banking world and struggle to grow beyond it.

“Hardware-based facial recognition is growing, but the ability to carry out facial recognition via software is limiting its adoption rate,” said Susan Morrow, co-author of the report. “As the need for a secure mobile authentication environment grows, smartphone vendors will need to increasingly turn to more robust hardware-based systems to keep pace with fraudsters’ evolving tactics.”

A recent report from GlobalData echoed the sentiment that more innovation is needed in this space.

“Mobile especially is an ideal form factor for leveraging biometric security systems, as the hardware for reading biometric indicators (cameras, thumbprint readers) is already built into most smartphones,” GlobalData researchers said in a recent report. “For other areas of payments, such as online payments via desktop or laptop, or for non-mobile payments at the POS, additional hardware would be needed to support biometric authentication. Thus, as regulators push for stronger forms of authentication to deal with the pressure of card-not-present fraud, mobile will become more important in payments generally because it is well-positioned to support biometric security.”

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