Equinox Consulting

Innovation corner – Are eyes windows to the soul, or a new payment method?

Barbara Busi at 2015-09-07 in Le coin des innovations

In this digital age, payment methods know no boundaries in terms of innovation; from now on, even the human body can enable payment for purchases made!

Voice, iris, fingerprint and now face recognition. How much further can we take the biometric models before they get too personal? Will they be able to force the banks to review their ‘four corners payment model’* and their commission systems ?

Today, more and more organisations and banks profit from the benefits that the human body can offer and rely on unique body characteristics which every human being carries, in order to refine biometric authentication, thus making the payment process more secure and simple.

Yeux moyen de paiement 1In 2013, La Banque Postale thus developed ‘Talk To Pay’, an application that makes online payment easier through mere customer voice recognition. The Japanese have gone even further and developed Arrows NX, the first smartphone that authorises payment with a mere glance at your smartphone’s camera lens using iris-recognition technology. To make the most of all possibilities that a face can offer, MasterCard and Alibaba have launched the ‘pay-with-selfie’ technology. A simple selfie made by smartphone can trigger the payment. Whereas, Citibank and PayPal have opted for fingerprint recognition. A single slide with your index finger on your mobile phone, and you can validate the purchases made using your smartphone. Probably inspired by « La bocca della verità » (Mouth of Truth), the Fujitsu brand has developed its Pulse Wallet, which scans the veins of your hands, and instead of expecting you to tell the truth, gives you an option to pay for your purchases.

These physical payment methods (in the true sense) provide several benefits. Just the fact that such means are always and everywhere available on you significantly facilitates purchasing process, reduces payment validation time and thus improves customer experience. Thanks to the new biometric technology which allows for a very accurate and secure configuration of the human body, combating fraud and identity theft becomes more and more efficient.

Yeux moyen de paiement 2Based on a survey by Visa Europe, 76% of the Generation Z (16-24 years) would be at ease to make a payment by using biometric security and 69% think that this would make their life easier and would save time. Nevertheless, the development of biometric methods is in full swing and they must be challenged before a consensus can be reached on a common payment method that will replace the use of bank card. Meanwhile, we can only follow up the new innovations….

* The model involves four stakeholders : card holder, merchant, cardholder’s bank and merchant’s bank


Plus :

  • Talk To Pay – La Banque Postale: link
  • Payment based on palm vein scanning: link
  • Payment based on fingerprint: link 1link 2
  • Payment based on iris authentication: link
  • Payment based on pay-with-selfie technology: link
  • Visa Europe Survey: link


Barbara Busi   Barbara


Digital, Retail Banking & SFS

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