Apple’s iPhone Fingerprint Scanner - Security Today, Payments Tomorrow?

As a merchant, you want to offer a wide range of payment options to make it as quick and easy as possible for your customer to buy your products.   With the advent of smartphones, there’s been a lot of ink spilled and talk about ‘mobile payments’ and for a while it was just that - talk -  but we may have recently seen an announcement which moves us closer to that future option.

In September, Apple introduced the next generation iPhone 5S which included a fingerprint scanner called ‘TouchID’.  Touch ID not only allows you to unlock the iPhone but can also be used to make purchases through the Apple digital storefronts.

Amazing to think about but how does it work?  The scanner is built into the Home button and the owner creates their unique identity by touching their finger to it, holding it there until they feel a quick vibration or are asked to lift their finger.  Once configured, the fingerprint replaces a typed password to purchase favorite content from the iTunes, iBooks, and App Stores, simplifying the payment process.  No need to remember cumbersome passwords and PINs and avoids typing mistakes using those small keyboards!

And Apple may be just the first.  The Wall Street Journal recently reported that HTC will announce a new smartphone - the One Max - in mid-October with a fingerprint scanner.   As this and other emerging technologies becomes more commonplace and users more comfortable with it, we could be seeing this trend extend beyond online payments to brick and mortar transactions as well.  We’ll keep you updated on this and all the new technologies coming down the road so check back here often!