Brits don't want selfies instead of passwords

They don't. But they would love to see a fingerprint scanner, together with a PIN code or a password, when buying things with their mobile or wearable devices.

Those are the results of a new study released by Visa. The Biometric Payments study covers 14,000 consumers across seven European markets, and it says that more than 75 per cent see two-factor authentication, a combination of biometrics and a payment device (a password, or a PIN), as a secure method.

More than half (53 per cent) would like to see fingerprints included, besides a password, when paying for things, while just eight per cent would love to use selfies for the same purpose. Voice, or facial recognition software, has only 12 per cent of people supporting.

Almost half (48 per cent) would use biometric authentication for public transport purchases, 47 per cent for bar and restaurant payments, and 46 per cent for goods and services on the high street.

“One of the challenges for biometrics is scenarios in which it is the only form of authentication. It could result in a false positive or false negative because, unlike a PIN which is entered either correctly or incorrectly, biometrics are not a binary measurement but are based on the probability of a match. Biometrics work best when linked to other factors, such as the device, geolocation technologies or with an additional authentication method,” said Jonathan Vaux, Executive Director of Innovation Partnerships.

“That’s why we believe that it’s important to take a holistic approach that considers a wide range of enabling technologies that contribute to a better end-to-end experience, from provisioning a card to making a purchase to checking your balance.”