Sooner or late, we're all going to be using biometric data when shopping for anything. While it's not exactly a fool proof method, it's certainly better than the current magnetic strips found on credit and debit cards. While such a future is still years away, early adopters who use PayPal can start authenticating purchases with their fingerprints in March.
PayPal announced today that it has partnered up with Samsung to offer the first fingerprint authentication system at retail shops. The catch is that those wanting to use the new authentication system will have to own the new Samsung Galaxy S5 as it sports a fingerprint scanner on the bottom of the device. By using this scanner, shoppers will be able to approve payments with their finger.
It's noted that this is just the first step in PayPal's Fast IDentity Online Alliance which is moving to replace passwords with stronger security standards. Biometric data is apparently safer than passwords even though it's been proven that fingerprints can be spoofed just as easily as anything else.
While fingerprint thieves are certainly worrisome, a more pressing concern is how secure PayPal is going to be with your fingerprints. The company notes that all your financial information is stored in the cloud and never on your device. The fingerprint scanner instantly communicates with the cloud to authorize purchases and doesn't store biometric data on the device or on PayPal's servers. In short, the worst that can happen is hackers breaking into PayPal's servers and stealing your financial information. While that's certainly bad, they at least won't have your biometric data which will one day be the most important identifier you have.
PayPal says its fingerprint authentication system will be available at the Galaxy S5's launch in April. The service will be available in 26 markets, including Australia, Brazil, Russia, the UK and the U.S.
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