Number of smartphone users relying on software-only biometric security to grow 250%

A new report from Juniper Research predicts that the biggest shift in mobile payment security will be the move towards software-based methods, which rely on standard smartphone components.

software-only biometric security

The research forecasts that users of these methods will increase from an estimated 429 million in 2018 to over 1.5 billion in 2023. Juniper believes that this will usher in an era where mobile payments authentication utilizes multiple biometrics based on people’s device usage patterns.

Biometrics shift to software

The new research found that the use of software-based biometrics, such as that offered by voice or facial recognition, will fuel growth in smartphone mobile payments across all price ranges. The hardware-agnostic nature of this will be key to driving adoption, increasing biometrically-authenticated transactions at an average of 76% per annum globally. It predicts the major growth for this will come from Asia, with North American usage growing at just 46% per year.

“Mobile payment security will broaden hugely thanks to the implementation of pure software solutions,” remarked report author James Moar. “The key battle now will be to convince users, particularly those in Europe and North America, that these methods are just as secure as traditional hardware-based security.”

Fingerprints: De facto or defunct?

Juniper found that fingerprint biometrics are becoming increasingly prevalent, with 4.5 billion smartphones using the technology by 2023. However, with the iPhone X and other smartphones offering facial and eye-based identification, Juniper believes that fingerprint sensors will decline as a proportion of smartphone biometric hardware.

This will reduce from just over 95% of smartphones using fingerprint-based security in 2018, to under 90% by 2023. Thanks also to the increase in software-based biometrics, fingerprint sensor use will become much more contextual, rather than the default biometric option.