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Visa wants to replace bank passwords with face scans

Visa wants to replace bank passwords with face scans
[Photo: Colin Anderson/Getty Images]

The latest smartphones have been built to accommodate fancy biometric authentication techniques like face scans, fingerprints, and voice tests. But as of yet, there aren’t many apps that rely on these new forms of ID.

Enter payments giant Visa, which wants to give these emerging password-killers a boost. Yesterday, the company unveiled an API-based offering called Visa ID Intelligence that makes biometrics available to banks and merchants.

“It’s a way for us to accelerate the adoption of these smarter authentication technologies for our clients around the world,” says Mark Nelsen, Visa’s senior vice president for risk products.

Visa’s new API promises to help companies dealing with financial information be more nimble as they continually adapt to new threats. If one form of authentication becomes compromised, they will be switched to another form, through the API, without having to vet another security vendor on their own.

Plus, simply switching to any form of biometrics improves on our “password123” norms, analysts say. “[Biometrics] are more secure because the deployment of them is device resident,” says Julie Conroy, a research director at the Aite Group. “It’s not something stored up in a cloud somewhere that the bad guys can compromise. They have to copy the biometric and your unique device identity as well.”AH