Deploying the human body as a recognition tool is the next wave that may soon make passwords redundant.

According to a global report released by JWT on the future of payments, there will be 471 million global biometrics smartphone users by 2017. That’s a huge potential market.

Here are five ways in which biometric solutions are making passwords redundant across the globe.

1. Fingerprints

Made popular by Apple Pay where Touch ID by Apple works on fingerprint recognition.

2. Voice

Authenticates a user based on numerous vocal characteristics like vocal tract geometry, harmonics, pitch and range.

3. Retina

Developed in the 1980s. This method is based on the blood vessels at the back of the eye that have a unique pattern for every individual.

4. Heartbeat

Heartbeat or ECG scanning is more complex and hence not as popular yet but could get there going forward.

5. Facial biometrics

Face recognition technology measures and matches unique characteristics for the purposes of identification or authentication.



Nearly two fifths of Western European consumers (38%) are ready to pay using their smartphones while more than 70% of those in Africa and the Middle East are prepared to do so, research by Mastercard reveals. Consumers across all regions chose their smartphones as an alternative to the plastic card.

The Mastercard Impact of Innovation study — a survey of 23,000 consumers in 23 different countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East — also reveals that customers would rather use biometrics than PIN codes to secure payment, with fingerprint recognition technology proving the most popular method.

Out of those surveyed in Western Europe, Swedish consumers are the most eager for mobile payments, with 70% indicating their readiness to pay with their phone. 38% of Western Europeans trust fingerprint recognition more than they do PIN (30%).

Mobile payment readiness is 57% in Central and Eastern Europe, and fingerprint authentication (34%) is trusted more than PIN (33%). Preparedness is an average 64% across Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, where respondents have confidence in fingerprint the least (32%) and SMS code the most (36%).

Consumers in the Middle East and Africa do not generally trust PIN codes for payment (24%), the study also reveals. 32% are assured by fingerprint and 36% by SMS code.

Positive outlook

When it comes to digital innovations as a whole, 92% of those surveyed across all regions believe they are a good thing and have a positive outlook on the future of technology. Those living in technologically less developed countries tend to be more enthusiastic about digital innovation than in markets where it is readily available.

Western Europe has the largest proportion of those resistant to digital change (17%), while Central and Eastern European countries and those in the Middle East and Africa have the highest number who actively embrace the latest technology. 27% of Russians, Turkish and Ukrainian consumers call themselves “eager promoters” of new tech.

“Not only is there a huge appetite for new ways to pay, but consumers overwhelmingly want to use their smartphones,” says Ann Cairns, president of international markets at Mastercard. “In fact, many are ready to do so right now. For decades, plastic cards have been the only reasonable alternative to cash, but consumers are saying loud and clear that they want digital innovations in all areas of life.”