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The future at our fingerprints: using biometric authentication in banking

10 September 2018

It’s pretty easy to forget that, not so long ago, the only thing stopping someone going on a shopping spree with your credit card was their ability to mimic your scrawled signature. Australia has wised up over the years since then, of course, and by mid-2014 signatures were no longer how we proved our identities at the cash register. 

In its place was the trusty PIN code, which made sense since Australians were already so used to using password combinations for a bunch of different online accounts and platforms. But was there a better solution, one that didn’t require us having to waste time punching in a memorised code, that other people could potentially hack? There was, and it was right under our noses (or, more accurately, at the end of our hands), the whole time. 

Over the last few years, fingerprint-scanning technology has come a long way – and so has the Australian public in getting on board with it. In fact, according to the Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2017*, the use of fingerprint authentication on smartphones has increased by a huge 35% since 2016.

Combined with the use of technologies like Apple Pay and Google Pay - which lets people pay for things using their phones rather than cash or card (how old fashioned!) - we’ve really leaned into the fingerprint method.   

Online banking and the use of apps is becoming the norm, and some apps, such as the Suncorp App, even lets customers manage their banking, finances and insurance policies in one place, offering a new level of convenience and self-service.

Discover the new Suncorp App

Fingerprint technology: the new frontier?

Fingerprint technology hasn’t necessarily completely overtaken the trusted PIN/passcode, but it’s getting up there. It helps that manufacturers are following the trend, with 45% of smartphones now designed with a fingerprint reader. And it’s obviously something Australians enjoy too – 69% of people who have a fingerprint reader on their smartphone use it. 

It’s interesting to see the ways we’re using biometric technology, too. According to the survey from Deloitte*, most Australians (94%) use their fingerprint to unlock their phone – which isn’t really surprise. A significant amount (36%) are also on board with using it to log into apps, authorise payments (30%), and authorise money transfers into other people’s accounts (18%).

Australians are embracing fingerprint technology, using it to access bank accounts, authorise payments and transfers, and log into apps.

Use of fingerprint technology

According to Deloitte's Mobile Consumer Survey in 2017, Australians used fingerprint technology mostly for the following:

The way that Australians have starting using fingerprint technology so quickly just goes to show how much confidence we put in the security of biometrics. After all, it’s a unique measurement that’s both more precise and difficult to imitate than passwords, PIN codes and signatures. It’s also worth remembering that not all apps even offer fingerprint technology yet, which could impact the total number of people who say they currently use it. As more apps include it in their designs, adoption rates could soar even further.

The future of biometric technology in Australia

Fingerprint technology has already been accepted by a huge number of Australian users, and with the Apple iPhone X’s built-in facial recognition abilities, biometric identifiers are clearly here to stay. It’s widely predicted that even more people are going to use this technology in the coming years.

The distinctive advantage of biometrics is the uniqueness of your fingerprints and iris, making it much harder to hack in comparison to a combination of letters and/or numbers you’ve created yourself. The convenience of a one-tap or facial-scan system further makes it an appealing alternative for consumers, especially when convenience is increasingly becoming king in our society.  


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Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. You should make your own enquiries, consider whether advice is appropriate for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product.

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