LONDON: There are now 15m consumers in the UK who own a smartphone that incorporates a fingerprint scanner and around four-in-five (79%) of them actually use the technology, a new report has found.

In addition, more than a third (35%) of those who use the fingerprint reader on their devices do so to authorise payments and complete financial transactions. That is the equivalent to one-in-ten smartphone owners in the UK – or four million people.

These are some of the key findings from a survey conducted by Deloitte, the professional services firm, which questioned 4,150 UK consumers about their mobile phone habits.

The survey confirmed that British consumers are becoming more enthusiastic about biometric technology, largely because of its speed and convenience, suggesting that the days of long and complicated passwords may be numbered.

“Most smartphone owners use biometric authentication because it is faster and more secure than traditional methods. Passwords have to be ever longer and more complex in order to be secure, which makes them hard to remember,” said Paul Lee, Deloitte’s Head of Research for technology, media and telecoms.

“For the modern day smartphone user, a quick scan of a thumb is faster and just as secure, if not more so – and fingerprints are not forgettable. We estimate that currently, globally, well over a billion devices now include a fingerprint reader.”

However, while consumers have embraced fingerprint readers to unlock features, just 3% of the survey respondents currently use other forms of biometric technology, such as voice, facial and iris recognition.

Deloitte said that it expected this initial resistance would change in the medium term as biometric technology continues to improve and become both more reliable and cost effective.

“As mobile commerce grows, biometric authentication is likely to be increasingly used to bypass entering address and credit card details,” Lee said.

“We would also expect more retailers – both physical and online – to enable fingerprint-based authentication of transactions within apps and from web pages and, as a result, may see higher usage than an app that requires traditional password entry.”

Sourced from Deloitte; additional content by WARC staff