PayPal goes biometric

From Friday, customers in 25 countries will be able to log into the online payments system with just their fingerprint.

| Updated on: Apr 12 2014, 12:36 IST
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From Friday, customers in 25 countries will be able to log into the online payments system with just their fingerprint.

And as cool as the new feature is, not to mention technologically more secure than a password based on a pet's name, there is a catch. To use it, you'll have to be in possession of Samsung's latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S5, because only that handset's fingerprint scanner is currently integrated with PayPal.

The two companies announced their partnership at the Mobile World Congress in February and the deal was welcomed by those in the cybersecurity community as a first step towards the wholesale replacement of the traditional text-based password with a unique biometric system based on the FIDO protocol.

The FIDO Alliance is a group of high-tech heavy hitters, including PayPal, Lenovo and Google who have developed a scalable, universal biometric system that they want the web and tech manufacturers to adopt to keep consumers safe. 'While this first deployment of FIDO Ready technology leverages a biometric -- a simple swipe of a finger -- we anticipate FIDO authentication to emerge in many forms and applications, through many providers and as a result of many more innovative partnerships dedicated to moving beyond passwords with more secure, private, easier-to-use authentication,' said Michael Barrett, president of the FIDO Alliance of the integration.

Now that the Galaxy S5 has officially launched around the world, PayPal's system is now live. But as well as rolling out its fingerprint authentication for logging in and confirming payments, the company has also launched apps for the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear Fit smartwatches that will enable users to check their balance and to view location-specific offers.

Samsung may not have beaten Apple to market with its fingerprint-scanning technology, but by opening that technology up to other companies for integration with their services, the company really could be on the verge of making biometric identification mainstream.

Although Apple's Touch ID system launched on the iPhone 5S back in September, it is currently only able to unlock an iPhone and verify iTunes and App Store purchases.

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First Published Date: 12 Apr, 10:37 IST