The rise of biometrics


Acceptance of biometric authentication is growing in payments and access control

Are you sick and tired of forgetting your password? Many of us have password lists saved on our computer or just pre-saved passwords on our web browser (which, by the way, is a hacker’s dream). Let’s face it, the methods most people use to authenticate today are usually inconvenient or not very secure. This is where biometrics solves a major problem.

Biometrics refers to measurable human characteristics such as fingerprint, face, iris or hand shape. Biometric authentication, i.e., verifying that you are who you purport to be by using these human characteristics, has a variety of applications and is now being applied in the payments space.

A 2017 survey by Visa showed that American consumers have a growing interest in biometric technologies that make their life easier. More than 65% of consumers are already familiar with biometrics and 86% are interested in using biometrics to verify their identity or to make payments.



A customer pays for his order at Teas’N You, a tea shop in Vienna, VA

In 2017, 43% of purchases at coffee shops and 81% at supermarkets were made with credit or debit cards. Each year the percentage of cash transactions decreases as customers seek alternative forms of payments that are more convenient, more secure, and offer incentives through rewards.

Credit card security has obvious weaknesses; a stolen credit card can be used by anyone because there is essentially no real form of authentication. In 2016, 1.3 million consumers filed complaints related to card fraud totaling $744 million according to the FTC. Part of the fee that card networks (e.g., Visa, Mastercard, Amex) charge merchants goes toward fraud reimbursements. Even if consumers and merchants do not see a fee explicitly for fraud coverage, the cost is long-term baked-in to the price paid by the consumer.

Authentication processes are required for a variety of applications, like unlocking smartphones or gaining entry into health clubs, family entertainment centers, amusement parks, etc. Using Biometrics can add value to any merchant whose business requires an authentication method. The overall customer experience is enhanced when using secure biometric processes because it eliminates the need to carry a physical membership card and prevents opportunities for fraud by card sharing. In addition, biometrics can be applied to link a person’s identity to the status of his or her release of liability waiver. If a waiver system failure occurs using standard methods, operators may not be able to confirm that all attendees signed waivers and would therefore be liable in the case of an accident; however, using a biometric authentication system can securely store waiver information and therefore reduce liability risks to operators.

Yombu is a pioneer in biometric authentication with applications in payments, facilities access, and loyalty. Yombu uses a proprietary, patent-pending matching algorithm consisting of multi-factor authentication. In the case of biometric data such as fingerprints, Yombu does not actually store images of fingerprints. Rather, when the fingerprint is scanned, it is templatized and encrypted. This means that fingerprint data is stored in mathematical form (as opposed to a raw image) and cannot be reversed. Yombu links a credit or debit card to an individual’s biometrics by use of a third-party card vault to protect card data. The process of card tokenization allows Yombu to work with any payment processor.

Authentication processes are required for a variety of applications, like unlocking smartphones or gaining entry into health clubs, family entertainment centers, amusement parks, etc. Using Biometrics can add value to any merchant whose business requires an authentication method. The overall customer experience is enhanced when using secure biometric processes because it eliminates the need to carry a physical membership card and prevents opportunities for fraud by card sharing. In addition, biometrics can be applied to link a person’s identity to the status of his or her release of liability waiver. If a waiver system failure occurs using standard methods, operators may not be able to confirm that all attendees signed waivers and would therefore be liable in the case of an accident; however, using a biometric authentication system can securely store waiver information and therefore reduce liability risks to operators.


“There is over $700 million in credit card fraud annually. Biometric authentication can help reduce this fraud.” Tweet this





A customer verifies that she signed a waiver and pays for her day-pass to enter Scramble, a children’s indoor play facility in Alexandria, VA

Yombu’s allows family entertainment centers (FECs) like Scramble to link a customer’s fingerprint to their identity to reduce fraud and allow the customer to gain facility access faster. We’ve seen that customers really like the convenience of Yombu. One customer said after paying with Yombu, “OMG this needs to be everywhere! I hate mobile wallets because if I lose my phone, I lose my wallet! Next time I am not even bringing my purse!” Another said, “Boom! I love it!”
To learn more about Yombu’s biometric services, email [email protected] or [email protected].

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Yombu is a software and biometric company focused on creating amazing, digital-first client experiences for all areas of the customer lifecycle.

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