The next generation of tablets and smartphones that have fingerprint scanners in their design may give shoppers more security which will be advantageous to mobile e-commerce.
Analysts believe that both Samsung and Apple will be incorporating fingerprint scanners into their new mobile designs. At first, it is likely that the fingerprint scanners will be used to replace log in passwords. However, future refinements may allow these scanners to be used as mobile payment verification for online purchases.
As consumers rely increasingly on mobile devices to store personal information and make purchases, a reliable way to authenticate purchases may be needed.
Biometric security, or identification utilising human traits, will have an affect on mobile e-commerce since it offers better security, and greater ease of use than current mobile security techniques.
Currently, mobile devices hold a large quantity of personal data. In some instances they hold digital wallets that contain banking data and card numbers. This data is usually secured with swipe patterns that are memorable or 4 digit passwords.
These types of passwords can be compromisted faster than fingerprint scans. Therefore, fingerprint recognition would render increased security to these devices. Consumers would then perceive that they have more security when making payments with mobile devices. There would be a greater likelihood that they will store personal data in their mobile wallets and use that data when making online purchases.
This would result in better security and fingerprint scanners would also result in greater ease of use, eliminating the need to enter passwords or pin numbers to execute a mobile payment. A simple finger scan, made by tapping or touching a purchase button, may be enough for transaction verification. The removal of any purchasing barriers will facilitate mobile e-commerce and fingerprint scanners would eliminate some steps in the mobile checkout process.
Mobile devices with fingerprint scanners would find use in two types of payments. Mobile devices are used to make purchases online and also to make online bill payments. A mobile device can also be used in making payments at a physical store.
Making the assumption that shoppers will make more more frequent use of digital wallets, the manner in which someone purchases something on an e-commerce site or a physical store may be quite similar. In both instances, the process may entail the opening of a digital wallet and placing a fingertip on a scanner. The commonality of this process would mean that an increasing number of customers will use mobile devices to shop at e-commerce sites.
For merchants selling online, including those that are fairly small, fingerprint scanners on mobile devices will likely be just another trend that demonstrates the great importance of having a strategy for mobile e-commerce.
Already, mobile e-commerce is a very important channel for online merchants. The amount of money being spent on mobile devices is increasing at an exponential rate, and this trend shows no signs of abating.
Ten percent of e-commerce dollars are now spent using a mobile device and the growth in this market segment is two times faster than traditional e-commerce, which is also growing rapidly at a rate of about 15% annually. Mobile e-commerce purchases have reached critical mass and stakeholders must address this incipient market dynamic or lose their competitive edge.
Although Apple has not made an announcement regarding its plans for the addition of biometric security functionality in its mobile devices, Apple has taken a couple of actions in the last year that are supportive of speculation that newly released devices are likely to include this functionality.
Apple purchased a mobile security company called Authen Tec. Authen Tec is a leading supplier and developer of fingerprint scanners, including some that are currently used on HP laptops.
Apple wants to dominate mobile e-commerce. It is likely that they have a desire to integrate fingerprint scanning with their App Store. Purchasing Authen Tec is part of this strategy.
In July, Apple also filed a fingerprint scanner patent in the U.S. Patent Office that is based upon technology from Authen Tec. This patent adds to work done previously by Apple and Authen Tec. It appears as if Apple is developing a fingerprint scanner that will function under a touchscreen that is like the display on the iPhone.
This information, when combined, indicates that Apple is working on including fingerprint scanning functionality in at least some of its products. Apple’s primary competitor in the smartphone marketplace, Samsung, is also developing a fingerprint scanner for its own products.