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Biometrics fuels adoption, sparked by COVID-19

Contactless transactions are encouraged during the COVID-19 pandemic – and we have been doing near-contactless transactions for years by swiping our debit and credit cards and signing with a stylus. Increasingly, merchants are promoting electronic payments over cash and are moving to other forms of payment, such as Venmo.

Signatures aren’t a necessity to complete credit card transactions anymore at the point of sale — and haven’t been for years. Linda Kirkpatrick, president of U.S. issuers of Mastercard, said recently, “From a safety and security standpoint, EMV and contactless payments began to supersede the physical signature after the October 2015 EMV liability shift.”

In 2018, Visa also relaxed its rules around requiring a cardholder signature, according to an article in Payments Source. It’s clear that merchants around the world are pursuing contactless EMV payments, with scans and QR codes, and updating their payment methods to be completely touch-less.

Vending machines are innovating too, during the pandemic, with contactless purchasing. Consumers can purchase items from vending machines by making selections from their personal mobile device.

More businesses are turning to “tap-to-pay” systems, with an increase of contactless payments of 150% since March 2019, according to the Forbes article, Banking After COVID-19: The Rise of Contactless Payments in the U.S. This includes cardless ATMs, third-party mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, and other capabilities that let users tap their debit cards instead of entering in a personal identification number on a keypad. “From tap-to-pay debit transactions to no-touch ways to pay for public transit, the current landscape is fertile ground for contactless technology to take off,” writes Stephanie Walden, a Forbes contributor.

The pandemic will have long-term impacts on global payments, according to Sulabh Agarwal, managing director, global payments, at Accenture. In a blog post, Agarwal cites “a strong push toward a cashless society” and the “growth for tokenized mobile wallets” as two of eight ways COVID-19 will impact payments.

If contactless payments are not futuristic enough, here comes “biometrics”. In her CSO article, Maria Korolov writes that biometrics have the potential to make authentication dramatically faster, easier, and more secure than traditional passwords.

What are biometrics? Biometric identifiers include fingerprints, facial patterns, voice, or typing cadence. “Each of these identifiers is considered unique to the individual, and may be used in combination to ensure greater accuracy of identification. Because biometrics can provide a reasonable level of confidence in authenticating a person with less friction for the user, it has the potential to dramatically improve enterprise security,” writes Korolov.

Facial recognition, retina scanning…sounds like something straight out of the movie Minority Report. Yet, biometrics are here now and are the “next big thing” when it comes to payments and transactions. And Futurex is right in the middle of it all. Or, rather, behind it all, actively working in real time behind the scenes to secure banking transactions at ATMs.

This week, we have announced the integration of our hardware security modules (HSMs) with the cutting edge, AI-driven face recognition technology from NEC Asia Pacific (NEC APAC). This integration enables financial services providers to introduce an additional security layer for their systems, including ATMs, by performing verification and validation of face recognition-based banking transactions. View the press release here .

How it works is our HSMs manage cryptographic keys in real time, with the highest level of security. This provides the immediate verification needed to complete a facial recognition interaction so that a financial transaction can be completed securely and efficiently.

Futurex’s HSMs — available as on-premises hardware or in the cloud through Futurex’s VirtuCrypt services — are used to support a range of financial services and enterprise-class critical cryptographic activities including data encryption, fraud protection, and certificate and key management. Futurex’s HSMs are validated under FIPS 140-2 Level 3 and PCI HSM standards to ensure the highest level of security and compliance.

Face recognition technologies can provide a truly contactless identification process without the need of touching or interaction from consumers. NEC’s face recognition technology is used worldwide for fighting crime, preventing fraud, securing public safety, and improving customer experience across a vast range of locations and industries.

“Behind the scenes, we are powering contactless transactions. We have integrated with NEC, the pioneer of scalable biometrics, to provide real-time verification of face recognition at ATMs,” said Ryan Smith, vice president, global business development at Futurex. “This provides the security and reassurance financial institutions and customers require.”

“With the current pandemic, financial institutions are looking to adopt contactless banking – including biometric-powered transactions – in their ATMs. By integrating Futurex’s HSMs and NEC’s AI-based face recognition technology, financial institutions can assure their customers that the process is secure and their identities will be protected,” said Vivian Tay, senior vice president at NEC APAC.

To learn more about our robust HSM security solutions for financial services, either on-premises or cloud, visit financial solutions or learn more about financial cloud HSMs.

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For over 40 years, Futurex has been a trusted provider of hardened, enterprise-class data security solutions. More than 15,000 organizations worldwide have used Futurex’s innovative hardware security modules, key management servers, and cloud HSM solutions to address mission-critical data encryption and key management needs.

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