Europeans trust in biometric authentication


Majority believe security is the primary benefit of biometric authentication for online accounts

Tech-savvy consumers are ready for biometric authentication such as fingerprint readers or iris scanning, in replacement of passwords or PINs, according to a new study. Half of the 3,500 respondents to research carried out by Unisys said not having to remember passwords is a major benefit of the technology. Nearly seven in 10 Europeans (68%) said they would trust organisations more if they were to use biometrics for authentication.

With responses from seven countries in Europe, the Unisys survey asked consumers their opinion on biometric authentication for access to their online accounts and levels of trust in organisations that manage and store their personal data.

Consumers cited security as the key driver for adopting biometrics, with 52% believing it to be a more secure way of accessing devices and services. Meanwhile, 63% believe biometrics to be more secure than traditional PIN and password methods, with 57% of those surveyed saying fingerprint scanning is the most secure form of authentication.

Ditching passwords was found to be appealing. Half thought biometrics would help avoid having to remember passwords, and 9% believe using biometrics to be “more fun” than other authentication methods.

Of the types of organisations that hold online accounts for the public, 51% trust banks to manage data and provide a seamless experience, and 45% put their trust in government to do the same. By comparison, just 12% of consumers put their trust in social media companies.

Fingerprint scanning was found to be the authentication method citizens would be most happy using (61%), and the second favourite method was iris scanning, with 41% of respondents registering their support.

The average time a European consumer is prepared to wait for an online sign-in process is 25.5 seconds, which is promising for biometrics as a technology that will speed up the authentication process.

Salvatore Sinno, global chief security architect, Unisys, commented: “We are seeing the need for more than just the traditional password and PIN as the sole method of authentication. Mobile device usage has bought biometrics to the mainstream as more people access their phones via a fingerprint reader. With the arrival of the iPhone X, facial recognition will most likely become just as commonplace. It’s good to see the public across Europe putting trust in this technology. In today’s environment it makes sense for organisations to have a multi-layered approach to security, to address new legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), and reassure the public and build trust between consumers and service providers.”


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