Mobile Payment Authentication

One of the biggest concerns that we have in today’s data-driven digital world is security. How many security breaches have you heard about in the last year?

In order to keep moving forward with epayments and protect the data of consumers, it’s important to authenticate users. After all, some of the biggest reasons that mobile payment is a little slow to catch on is concern over security (as well as overall user experience).

Recently, I read an article from Mobile Payments Today about how markers of user behavior could be used to authenticate users and smooth the digital payment system in a way that physical biometrics might not be able to do.

What are User Behavioral Characteristics?

Most of us know what physical biometrics are. My iPhone reads my thumbprint to unlock my screen and to verify my identity before I buy an app or music. I can use my thumbprint at the store to activate my Apple Wallet and make a mobile payment using my phone (assuming I’m at a store that can handle that sort of transaction).

But, the article points out, this type of physical biometric data can be copied and reused. What’s harder to duplicate are the subtle ways that you use your phone. This includes the way you hold your mobile device while you conduct business, whether you use your thumb or forefinger, how lightly you touch the phone, and a variety of other measures. According to the article, these are identifiers that can be better used to authenticate your identity because they can’t be duplicated.

Incorporating Behavioral Characteristics into Payment Authentication

Business owners are always looking for ways to make the customer experience smoother. Helping your customers pay you online from their mobile devices, or having the setup to exchange payment information at a brick and mortar store, or between mobile devices, is an important step in providing convenience. However, there are downsides to physical biometrics, according to Mobile Payments Today:

This isn’t to say there is no value in using a fingerprint or any other specific biological metric; the danger is using such a signal or identifier as the sole or secondary authentication method. It also forces the user to go out of their way to prove their identity, adding unnecessary friction to a good user’s experience. How much friction are you willing to force on consumers before they finally abandon their action or, even worse – abandon your company altogether?

With user behavioral characteristics, everything is frictionless, and that can increase security and create a better experience for your customers in terms of mobile payment.

Of course, this type of payment authentication is probably not imminent. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be thinking about what types of mobile payment you can accept, and whether or not you will be on the cutting edge.

There’s a lot going on in the world of mobile payment right now. As you consider what’s best for your own business, think about the ways you can improve your situation and make the experience better for your customers.


I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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