MasterCard is rolling out new biometric payment options for online shopping across Europe. The new option lets consumers use biometrics instead of passwords or PINs to make purchases. Customers can take a selfie to use face recognition software. Those with phones or devices with a fingerprint reader can use that method.
MasterCard is obviously aware that consumers have real concerns about using their bank cards for online shopping, but is biometrics the answer? MasterCard is apparently focusing on the hassle involved in remembering passwords and of using verification pages separate from the retailer’s page. Those things are annoying to many consumers, but is that their biggest issue with making payments online?
A recent survey of UK shoppers by marketing experts Ingenuity showed that almost 3/4 of them worried about identity theft. More than 60% said they wanted a safer way to pay for online purchases. Will using facial recognition software or fingerprint readers feel more secure to those consumers or less? Is this really solving their problem?
Pay-In-Person Protects Privacy
There’s another option. PiPiT is a new online shopping payment options that lets consumers pay for their purchases in person at their local Post Office. When an online shopper selects the Pay-In-Person option at the checkout, the system sends them a bar-coded receipt. The customer brings that receipt to the Post Office and pays for the purchase. The Post Office then notifies the seller, who can ship the merchandise.
Pay-In-Person directly addresses consumers’ fears about shopping online. It protects their privacy, whereas the new MasterCard option asks people to submit their biometric details. No doubt it will be quick and simple, but will it address the real concerns people have about security?
Ingenuity’s survey showed that 31% of those who had not shopped online in the previous year cited security concerns as the reason. More than 50% of all those surveyed said they had concerns about the security of online payments. 4/5 of all respondents saw PiPiT as a unique solution, and 3/5 said they were interested in using it.
Companies investigating new payment options need to understand what their market actually wants and what is making them hesitate to shop online. Are they annoyed about passwords or afraid of identity theft? Do they want a faster method or a way to avoid sending personal information out online? If the solution you invest in does not solve the problem your market is experiencing, it isn’t going to solve very much.