Published: May 29, 2022

Biometric Tech as the future of Cashless Payments at Retail

Mastercard looks to capture growing biometric tech market

The company is piloting a program that allows shoppers to pay using facial recognition or fingerprint scanning

It takes at least 10 muscles to smile—and now, to check out your groceries. Mastercard is piloting a program that allows shoppers to pay using facial recognition or fingerprint scanning.

It’s underway at five grocery stores in Brazil, and Mastercard plans to debut it globally later this year.

  • Customers need to snap a selfie or scan their fingerprint to try the tech. A credit card linked to their biometric data is then created.

Facing the future: Mastercard believes consumers want an even easier way to checkout and are confident in the technology’s adoption. An overwhelming majority (86%) of shoppers are interested in using biometrics to make payments, according to a Visa survey.

  • Plus, the contactless biometric payments market is expected to reach $18.6 billion by 2026, Mastercard noted in its release.

“All the research that we’ve done has told us that consumers love biometrics,” Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard’s president of cyber and intelligence, told CNBC. “They want making a payment at a store to be as convenient as opening their phone.”

About two-thirds (67%) of consumers express interest in using fingerprint scanning to make payments, as opposed to 36% who show interest in facial recognition, per the Visa survey.

  • Mastercard says customer data is encrypted for privacy protection, and the biometric data is replaced with a “token,” or set of alphanumeric characters, for security, according to CNBC.

Zoom out: Mastercard is the latest to push into biometric payment systems. There’s also the tech that Amazon has deployed at its Go stores, which are creeping into suburbia. Increased adoption of cashierless checkout is one reason why Amazon is trying to get out ahead of the competition, Richard Kestenbaum, co-founder and partner at Triangle Capital, previously told Retail Brew.

“Once your competitor across the street has it, you have to have it. Knowing full well that convenience is so critical to consumers, there’s no reason to stand in line anymore in most retail stores,” Kestenbaum said.—KM

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