Juniper Research: 40% of iOS users leery of facial recognition

A new survey conducted by Juniper Research has found that over 40% of iOS users in the U.S. consider themselves unlikely to use facial recognition as a payment security technology. The research group says this suggests that a core use case for the iPhone X’s main security feature may struggle to gain traction amongst consumers.

That may be the case, but almost every pundit — including Yours Truly — is expecting the high end iPhone to sell like hot cakes and face a backorder into 2018.  Apple says FaceID is “even more convenient than Touch ID.” With Face ID, the iPhone X unlocks only when you’re looking at it. It’s designed to resist spoofing by photos or masks. Your facial map is encrypted and protected by the Secure Enclave. And authentication happens instantly on the device, not in the cloud.

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However, Juniper Research sys that contactless payment users considered fingerprint sensors and voice recognition more appealing authentication methods, with 74% and 62% respectively saying they are likely to use these technologies. The survey asked 500 U.S. and 500 UK smartphone users about mobile banking and contactless payments.

Overall the number of contactless payment users grew by only 2% year-on-year in the U.S., with most deployments coming from smartphone manufacturers. Contactless user numbers in the card-first UK grew by 12%.

The survey shows that while mobile contactless payments usage will grow in both markets, existing users will fuel most of that growth. In the U.S., 73% of pay users (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay etc) expect to increase their usage, but only 39% of non-users expect to start using mobile contactless payments, says Juniper. This proportion is even lower in the UK, with only 26% of non-users reporting that they will start to use these services.

The survey found that, while contactless payment non-users have less concerns overall, 32% have concerns about the security of the transactions, a far higher proportion than users (14%). Mobile banking has a similar pattern, with 30% of non-users concerned about the security of transactions, compared to 10% of users.

“Transaction security is a key barrier for mobile financial services adoption” says research author James Moar. “Addressing these concerns will bring many consumers to the point where they will consider using such services.”