Biometric Technologies: Are We There Yet?

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Celent have reviewed this profile and believe it to be accurate.
11 January 2006


San Francisco, CA, USA January 11, 2006


Despite the great promise of biometrics, US banks may be more than a decade away from realizing its full benefits.

Biometric technologies are expanding their footprint in the banking industry. Banks across the globe are using biometrics to curb fraud and offer customers an easy, convenient alternative to cards and PINs. But US banks are behind the pack.

"It will be years, if not a decade or more, before the US will be in the position to offer consumers the ability to make a payment with a finger, iris, or other biometric method on an open payments network," says Ariana-Michele Moore, senior analyst at Celent and author of the report, ?

In this report, Celent explores the use of biometrics in financial services, focusing on its application for banks and their readiness to use the technology. Celent found that while technological advancement and price improvements are among the factors positioning biometrics as a useful tool for banks, US banks face challenges -- from creating standard biometric applications to encouraging customers to use biometrics that will stall widespread use of the technology in the US.

"Despite the challenges facing those banks interested in deploying biometrics across their customer base, many banks are using them internally across applications such as employee background checks, time and attendance, and access security," says Moore. "The opportunity for biometrics is fantastically huge, and its applications are as wide as the mind can stretch," she adds. Many different technologies have already been tested in the market, some as bizarre as body odor. A few have emerged from the pack as true leaders, such as fingerprint and iris recognition. Celent traces the evolution of these technologies, compares the existing technologies, and predicts the future development of biometrics.

Celent also predicts that deployments in the private sector will grow and will largely pave the road for biometric use across the retail banking industry. Biometrics in cell phones, laptops, storage lockers, and many other types of applications will increasingly acquaint consumers with the technology and increase their level of comfort.

The report includes case studies of two biometric merchants, Biopay and Pay by Touch. This report is an update to the Celent report, Financial Fraud: Biometrics Point a Finger, March 2002.

A table of contents for this 52-page report is available online.