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Biometric authentication

A finger on a fingerprint scanner.

Description

A person’s unique physical features like their fingerprint, iris, face or voice is used to authorise access. For example, a person can use their fingerprint to authorise payments with Apple Pay.

Advantages

  • It’s quicker and more convenient than typing in a password
  • Can be used as a second factor to a password to provide stronger authentication

Limitations

  • Users may not understand how biometric data is used and if it’s shared
  • It might not be clear to users where the biometric data is stored and how it’s protected
  • Apps might not work for people that have disabled biometric authentication on their device

Examples

  • Touch ID →

    Apple iOS allows people to unlock devices and make payments with a fingerprint. Similar functionality is available on Android.

  • Face ID →

    a feature of Apple's iPhone X that uses sensors match face shapes for making a payment or unlocking a device

  • First Direct →

    uses voice recognition when a person is accessing telephone banking