Mr. Fliehe, what is biometrics and how is it being used in connection with authentication processes?
Marc Fliehe: Biometrics are based on methods that utilize the unique characteristics of a person. The results are converted into a data set and digitally stored. To check an identity, the converted biometric data of a person can be compared to existing data sets. The best-known technique is the fingerprint. However, the iris, voice, the face or heartbeat can also be used to identify a person. What’s important to know here is: generally, not the image of a fingerprint is being stored, but only the converted biometric data.
Are biometric payments the better mobile payment system?
Fliehe: In our opinion, biometric systems will be used for payment authentication in the foreseeable future. That means they can replace a PIN number or signature. Having said that, they would not necessarily replace the payment process per se (credit card payments, mobile payments). What’s more, it is also conceivable to use biometric systems without cards or smartphones, though they would be based on other electronic procedures. You can already pay by using your fingerprint at the respective app store using the latest iPhone models or modern Android smartphones. The credit card information is stored in this case.
Biometric data is intended to considerably reduce the risk of fraud while providing more convenience at the same time. The internet has many instructions on how fingerprints can be easily copied. It is just as easy to outsmart iris scanners – usually, a simple photo of the right size is enough. How secure are biometric payment systems really?
Fliehe: Biometric data make every person unique – and this makes them highly secure. But obviously, this requires high-quality products. They feature biodetection technology for example and can generally not be fooled with simple means like a photo. It’s also clear that no process can guarantee 100% security. However, a 4-digit number that scammers can easily spot when you enter it at an automated teller machine, for instance, is far less safe compared to biometrics.