The eyes have it: Consumers want iris scanning to protect bank accounts

New research has revealed that the demand for banks to use biometric measures to bolster security has risen massively in the last two years, with iris scanning overtaking fingerprints as the most-wanted technique.

The survey from financial tech provider Intelligent Environments found that the proportion of UK consumers interested in using iris scanning for biometric authentication had risen from 33% in 2014, to a massive 60% this year.

That meant using your eye to login has become a more popular concept than fingerprint verification – the latter was the leading method back in 2014 with 53% of respondents, but only rose to 57% this year, being overtaken by iris scanning.

Facial (selfie) recognition is in third place according to the research, close behind fingerprints with 55% interested in this method of authentication, again a big rise from two years ago when it stood on 30%. Voice recognition was fourth on 45%, with vein and heartbeat verification both tied with 37% in fifth place.

Unsurprisingly given all the cyber-attacks we’ve been hearing about lately, security has become an important consideration when choosing a bank, and it was found to be a ‘deciding factor’ for 37% of those surveyed.

Biometric benefits 

On an overall level, 45% of respondents said they would like to use biometric tools of one sort or another to access their bank account, with 29% stating that they would be more likely to go with a bank which offers biometric verification.

Despite what seems to be fast-growing demand, actual use of biometrics in banking logins remains low, with fingerprint recognition being the most-used technique currently out there – but only 13% of consumers said they used it. Other forms of biometrics languished on adoption rates of less than 4%.

Clayton Locke, CTO at Intelligent Environments, commented: “Our previous research shows that traditional PINs and passwords are no longer up to the task of keeping valuable personal and financial details safe.

“Given the clamour for biometrics amongst consumers, those banks who seize the moment and are able to introduce biometric security measures across the board are likely to attract new customers.”

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).