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Biometrics could help ease mobile payment security concerns

Aug 14, 2013 Dave King

Biometrics could help ease mobile payment security concerns

As more and more consumers begin to utilize their smartphones for things other than calling and texting, the transition to mobile payment systems at businesses across the United States is becoming a real possibility.

One of the biggest obstacles to full implementation is security, as there are numerous instances that could lead to personal information being compromised from mobile devices. Research firm Frost & Sullivan recently said biometrics could be the solution to security risks, as it can help provide high levels of protection. For example. voice and facial recognition software can be used to ensure only the owner of the phone can make payments with the device.

"Protecting the mobile device itself is a first step, necessary to secure mobile payments," said Frost & Sullivan Global Program Director of ICT in Financial Services Jean-Noel Georges. "Although a personal identification number (PIN) can do the job, in 2011 more than 60 percent of smartphone users were not using a PIN to protect their mobile access."

Georges added that one of the major advances in technology that could lead to biometric security solutions becoming a big part of mobile payment security is the rumor that the new iPhone will include a fingerprint sensor.

Top security risks facing mobile payment systems

While biometrics could help prevent any unwanted users from utilizing a mobile device for payments through facial recognition or fingerprint sensors, there are other issues businesses need to address before implementing this technology.

- Data breaches: With payment information being stored on mobile devices and in company applications, there is the risk of an outside entity gaining access to this data. As a result, businesses using mobile payment systems need to do everything they can to prevent such an incident from occurring. Company IT professionals need to be well aware of all the outside threats that could lead to a data breach.

- Infected mobile applications: Another incident that could lead to customer payment information being stolen is an infected mobile application. In the past couple of years, mobile malware has become more popular, which can present numerous risks for businesses. While, in some cases, it can be as harmless as simply slowing the operation speed of an application, mobile malware can also lead to personal data being compromised.