Biometric payments are top option for security-concious shoppers, survey finds

Paying for goods and services through fingerprint, palm and iris scanners is the most popular future technology choice for security-conscious shoppers, according to new research* from WorldPay, a global leader in payments processing.

One in two people surveyed (49%) stated they would like to have biometric payments, such as fingerprint, palm or iris scanners, far outweighing the popularity of emerging mobile technology options. Thirty per cent would like to use PIN based smartphone payments, 25% online wallets, and 23% are keen to use SMS payments. Paying through social media was the least popular choice, with only 12% expressing they would like to use it.

The research, culminating in a report into the payment marketplace, examined the public’s attitudes and usage of emerging payment technologies, with a particular focus on smartphones.

Smartphone usage

One in five people (20%) have already made a payment of some type through their smartphone, but a higher percentage are using them for research and reporting in-store. 45% are using it for ‘show-rooming’ (choosing to browse in-store, and shop online later), 45% to check prices, 31% to comment on their shopping experience via social media and 28% to download vouchers and coupons.

Ron Kalifa, deputy chairman at WorldPay, said: “Retailers can help drive mass adoption of new payment technologies by challenging existing shopping behaviours and most importantly, making a compelling case for new payment methods that consumers will understand and buy into. 

“It’s interesting to see the public considering options such as biometric payments, a science that they may have seen in sci-fi films or on TV, which suggests familiarity and visibility of new payment technologies is crucial in moving usage from tech savvy enthusiasts to the wider public. Our research showed that three in four of us shop on auto pilot using cash, card and by paying online, so the industry needs to take greater steps to challenge these behaviours.”

The research was carried out independently on behalf of WorldPay by Davies Hickman Partners between April and June 2013. It included qualitative and quantitative research. Consumers completed 9 x 1.5 hour depth interviews in Cardiff, London and Manchester exploring attitudes to payments and trialling and testing new payment methods including Biometric payments. This was followed by a 30 question survey of 2,159 consumers completed online in May 2013 using nationally representative quotas for the UK.