A new study from Juniper Research has found that the number of users of software-based facial recognition to secure payments will exceed 1.4 billion globally by 2025; increasing from the 671 million figure recorded in 2020.

This rapid growth of 120% demonstrates how widespread facial recognition technology has become; fuelled by its low barriers to entry, a front-facing camera, and the development of the appropriate software.

The research identified the implementation of FaceID by Apple as accelerating the growth of the wider facial recognition market, despite the challenges to facial recognition during the pandemic with face mask use.

Additionally, the research recommends that facial recognition vendors implement robust and rapidly evolving AI-based verification checks to ensure the validity of user identity, or risk losing user trust in the authentication method as spoofing attempts increase.

Fingerprint Sensors Dominant, Hardware-based Facial Recognition Growing

The new research presented in the Mobile Payment Authentication: Biometrics, Regulation & Market Forecasts 2021-2025 report found that fingerprint sensors will feature on 93% of biometrically equipped smartphones by 2025. This compares favourably to hardware-based facial recognition, with just 17% of biometrically equipped smartphones featuring these capabilities in 2025.

Susan Morrow, Associate Analyst, Juniper Research
Susan Morrow, Associate Analyst, Juniper Research

“Hardware-based facial recognition is growing, but the ability to carry out facial recognition via software is limiting its adoption rate,” Research co-author Susan Morrow explains. “As the need for a secure mobile authentication environment grows, smartphone vendors will need to increasingly turn to more robust hardware-based systems to keep pace with fraudsters’ evolving tactics.”

Voice Recognition for Payments Growing, but Limited In Scope

The research also found that the use of voice recognition for payments is increasing, from 111 million users in 2020, to over 704 million forecast in 2025. The report identified that, at present, voice recognition is mostly used in banking, and will struggle to grow beyond this, due to concerns around robustness. Juniper Research recommends that vendors adopt a multi-method biometric strategy, which encompasses facial recognition, fingerprints, voice, and behavioural indicators to ensure a secure payment environment.

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