Nearly half of Canadians interested in using biometric payment options
New research shows that the use of biometric payments has wide appeal among Canadians. Biometric authentication is a way for consumers to identify themselves when making payments by using body measurements that are unique to each individual (ex: fingerprint, palm print, voice and facial recognition). Payments Canada’s latest survey, Payments Behaviour Tracker - Consumer, examines Canadians’ behaviour and sentiments around biometric payment methods.
Key study findings
- Young Canadians (aged 18-34) are significantly more likely than middle-aged (aged 35-54) and older Canadians (aged 55 and older) to find the idea of biometric payment authentication appealing (51 per cent versus 44 per cent and 43 per cent respectively)
- 45 per cent of Canadians find the use of biometrics for identity authentication when making payments somewhat or very appealing
- 37 per cent of Canadians are already comfortable using biometric authentication for payments either at a store or merchant website
- Older Canadians are significantly more likely (24 per cent) than middle-aged and younger Canadians not to find any appeal in biometric payments
Data security is the primary consideration amongst Canadians when granting consent to merchants to use their biometric data
Respondents indicated that the most important consideration in granting consent to a merchant or payments provider to use their biometric data was data security against payment fraud.
Although young Canadians are more likely than middle-aged or older Canadians to be interested in and use biometric payment authentication, they are especially concerned about data sharing and security. They are also concerned with knowing which third parties will have access to their biometric payment data (11 per cent).
Middle-aged and older Canadians indicated that the safety and security of using biometric payment authentication as it relates to payment fraud is their primary concern when it comes to using biometric authentication, and are significantly more likely (20 per cent for both groups) than young Canadians to be concerned about this.
Fingerprint scanning is considered the preferred and most secure biometric payment among Canadians
Although the majority of Canadians (83 per cent) most commonly use a PIN/password to authenticate their payments, only 37 per cent indicated this being their preferred authentication method. Thirty-six per cent of Canadians prefer using a biometric payment authentication method. Fingerprint scanning is favoured by Canadians more than any other type of biometrics for authenticating payment transactions and is widely considered to be more secure than chip-enabled payments. Young Canadians are more likely than older Canadians to have used fingerprint scan (35 per cent) and facial recognition (27 per cent) in the past twelve months to authenticate a payment transaction.
Canadians are more comfortable using biometric payments than many other emerging payment innovations
The majority of Canadians are more comfortable using biometric payments than making payments through wearable devices, QR codes, social media channels and smart devices/home assistants.
Young Canadians have expressed comfort in using biometric authentication for payments at a store (44 per cent) or merchant website (48 per cent). Young Canadians are especially comfortable with using biometric authentication for payments with significantly higher comfort ratings compared to older Canadians. Young Canadians are also more likely to be using a variety of ways to identify themselves online or authenticate a payment transaction. Besides using passwords and answering knowledge-based questions digitally, young Canadians are more likely than older Canadians to use biometric data (41 per cent) to identify themselves online.
Appeal of biometric payment options varies across other demographics such as gender and household income
Men are significantly more likely than women to find biometric payment authentication appealing (51 per cent versus 40 per cent), and the same is true for Canadians with higher income and education levels compared to those with lower income and education levels. Forty-nine per cent of Canadians with a household income of $80K or higher find biometric payment authentication appealing versus 41 per cent with a household income of less than $40K. Fifty-one per cent of Canadians with a university education find biometric payment authentication appealing versus 37 per cent with a high school education or less.
In summary, nearly half of Canadians are open to using biometric payments, or are already using biometric payments, and are confident in the security of biometrics to authenticate payments. However, they want to better understand how biometric authentication will protect them against payment fraud and how companies with access to their biometric data will safeguard the data they collect.
About the study
The Payments Behaviour Tracker - Consumer survey was compiled to examine consumer sentiment and habits around biometric payment methods. In total, 1,501 Canadian consumers were surveyed between February 28 and March 11, 2022.
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