Fingerprints for online and offline payments

Fingerprint payments is a promising innovation. Discover Financial Services Inc. tests this option with employees.

Discover works with French biometric firm Natural Security. Pilot version is already launched for 300 employees of Discover Financial Services Inc. Beta-testers are first to try fingerprint payments.

Those who want to participate, have to register at an on-site kiosk, where fingerprints are scanned. Fingerprints are then added to database and each fingerprint gets special number. Besides, each participant will receive key fob with a chip, that contains information about credit card accounts and fingerprints. Such payments will be tested at Riverwoods headquarters’ cafeteria and convenience stores.

To perform a payment, the participant has to place finger on the fingerprint reader at checkout. The key fob has to be nearby for the transaction to go through. Security benefit of these transactions is that payments cannot be completed if one of the necessary elements is missing. So even if your key fob is stolen, no one can use your credit card account details without you.

Biometric payments fall under “long-term solutions”. It means that this is a promising, but time-consuming technology to be launched for masses.

Biometric devices gain more popularity in the sphere of online payments too. Speaking about the security of online transactions or safety of your password on various websites, there raises a question - “Can passwords or tokens really be 100% reliable?” No, they can’t. Even the most strong passwords can be broken and one-time-pin tokens too.

If you want to get access to some data or submit your payment, fingerprint authentication is more reliable. Fingerprint readers are not so rare nowadays. There are internal fingerprint readers and external ones. To the internal fingerprints refer those which are implemented to the keyboards, mice or laptops. External readers are special devices which serve the only purpose - scan and store your fingerprints.

Fingerprint recognition is used when you want to guard vitally important information. You can protect the access to your online e-currency wallet by using fingerprint recognition. In general, most payment systems do not use fingerprint recognition for entering accounts. The most widespread protection for online payment systems is SSL and combination of login and password. When SSL protection is used on a website you see https:// instead of http:// in the address bar.

Currently the only online payment system that uses fingerprint authentication is WebMoney. WebMoney offers its users Enum - unique system of authentication. It protects your access to WebMoney system so that you can’t login without a secret key stored in your mobile device, PDA or fingerprint identifier. Enum allows users to store keys from their accounts what guarantees safe usage of your e-currency account from any computer.

This authentication system is based on either Response model (mobile application, which generates one-time PINs) or fingerprint recognition. You need to install special app - Enum - on your mobile device which will generate them.

Fingerprint authentication needs more profound preparation. First you need to register your fingerprints in the system. It allows to register up to 10 fingerprints. Then you need to complete a number of necessary steps to customize fingerprint authentication (detailed instructions you can check here). After user customizes WebMoney purse access for fingerprint authentication, it will be enough to fill in email and confirm entrance to purse with fingerprint.

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