Generation Z ready for biometric security

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16 to 24 year old consumers in the UK have the greatest appetite for biometric security measures and the greatest need to use them in place of traditional authentication such as passwords. Research from Visa Europe suggests this generation’s approach to existing security options is placing them at greater risk of data or financial compromise.

The research reveals that Generation Z (16-24 year olds) are more likely than older age

A fingerprint on a mobile phone
Generation Z ready for biometric security

groups to use only a single PIN number (32%) or password (14%) when protecting their personal data. In addition, this generation is more liberal in sharing their security information than older generations:

  • 34% have shared their debit or credit card PIN number with someone, versus 23% of all respondents
  • 32% have shared their smartphone password, versus 10% of all respondents
  • 22% have shared their internet banking password, versus 7% of all respondents

This group is also more likely to find existing security measures an irritating step when paying for something (64% vs 59% of all adults). Perhaps as a result, more than half of Generation Z believes that passwords and PIN codes will no longer be necessary by the end of the decade.

In their place, this group is keen to see biometric security, such as facial recognition, fingerprint and retina scans become available to replace them. Three-quarters (76%) of Generation Z would feel comfortable making a payment using biometric security and 69% believe this will make their lives faster and easier.

They also believe that, overall, biometrics are more secure than non-biometric identification methods. When asked to rate biometric forms of authentication on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being least secure and 10 being most secure), generation Z awarded biometrics a 7 on average, compared with non-biometrics being rated a 6 out of 10.*

“We have more logins and passwords than ever to help keep us secure online and on the high street, but for Gen Z it just feels like an unnecessary burden,” explains Jonathan Vaux, Executive Director at Visa Europe.

“Biometric authentication using fingerprint recognition or retinal scans offers an ideal solution, combining unique security and ease of use.  As products come online with these features integrated, we expect to see multiple passwords as the industry standard begin to decline.

“For banks and product providers this means two challenges. Firstly, to continue and quicken the pace of development on biometrics to answer this demand from Generation Z. Secondly, to continue to evaluate the increasing range of authentication options to ensure customer convenience and security as payment increasingly becomes embedded into a range of applications.”

Of the new payment methods available to consumers, Generation Z is most keen on verification via fingerprint scanning. Nearly 70% of 16-24 year olds say they want to use rather than passwords by 2020. Other methods interest this generation such as retina scans (39%) and facial recognition (27%), though voice recognition (12%), fast DNA samples (15%) and implanted chips (16%) remain less popular at present.

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