The number of smartphone users relying on software-only biometric security could grow by more than 250% over the next five years, according to a new analysis.
Biometric security systems recognise a person on the basis of unique features such as their fingerprint, face, voice or iris pattern, offering a secure and convenient method of authentication.
A report by Juniper Research predicts that the biggest shift in mobile payment security will be the move towards software-based methods such as voice or facial recognition, which rely on standard smartphone components rather than specific hardware.
Users of these methods are forecast to increase from an estimated 429 million in 2018 to over 1.5 billion in 2023.
Juniper believes that this will usher in an era where mobile payments authentication utilises multiple biometrics based on people’s device usage patterns.
According to the research, the use of software-based biometrics will fuel growth in smartphone payments across all price ranges. The hardware-agnostic nature of this will be key to driving adoption, increasing biometrically authenticated transactions at an average of 76% per annum globally.
“Mobile payment security will broaden hugely thanks to the implementation of pure software solutions,” commented report author James Moar. “The key battle now will be to convince users, particularly those in Europe and North America, that these methods are just as secure as traditional hardware-based security.”
Fingerprint biometrics will remain prevalent for the time being, with as many as 4.5 billion smartphones using the technology by 2023. However, with the iPhone X and other smartphones offering facial and eye-based identification, Juniper expects fingerprint sensors to decline as a proportion of smartphone biometric hardware — reducing from just over 95% of smartphones using fingerprint-based security in 2018, to under 90% by 2023. Fingerprint sensor use will become more contextual, rather than the default biometric option, the research firm suggests.