While biometric authentication has garnered significant attention in recent months, its actual application in face-to-face environments has seen slow adoption to date.

Biometrics has the potential to improve the speed and security of payments, but it is still in a vulnerable stage of development. Consumers want to ensure that their information is secure and that these methods are practical.

Addressing those concerns now can help expedite the historically slow adoption of biometrics to make the second half of 2016 and the coming 2017 year a banner one for the technology. Here is how merchants and developers can work together to do just that:

According to Worldpay’s Future of Digital Payments study, 52% of consumers still have concerns over personal security and privacy when it comes to biometric authentication methods. The best way to overcome these fears is through disclosure and transparency. Developers and merchants should make it simple for consumers to understand what is happening with their information and how it is being protected.  

To do this, merchants and their developers can keep their products out of the information loop by using techniques like end-to-end tokenization. This ensures the consumer’s biometric data is strictly kept between the user and financial institution authorizing it. Also, merchants need to make their security and privacy positions available for consumers to review on all of their platforms. Policy descriptions should be simple and use language consumers will understand.

We already know biometric authentication can allow shoppers to quickly pay with a wave of a hand, thumbprint or facial recognition. The convenience of a faster, shorter checkout line has brought instant appeal to consumers and merchants alike. But today, consumers don’t just want faster transactions; they want a more intuitive user experience. 

Shoppers are understandably wary to switch from traditional payment options they’ve grown accustomed to. Retailers need to demonstrate the value that biometric authentication adds to the shopping experience beyond speed. For example, biometric authentication eliminates the need to remember various PINs associated with traditional payment methods, and retailers can offer biometric authentication as an identification method at checkout. By using unique features that cannot be lost, forgotten or changed, biometric sensors could make forgetting passwords a thing of the past.

Consumer demand for faster, seamless transactions is shaping the transition in payments to biometric technology. And while biometric authentication could eventually help replace the physical wallet, its biggest hurdle remains to be adoption. In order for biometric authentication to reach widespread use, the burden will fall on the merchant and developer to address consumer concerns head-on and together.

Joe Kleinwaechter is Vice President of Innovation & Design at Worldpay US.