Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Even When Skewing Up the Poll, Biometrics Wins!

Glenbrook's Carol Coye Benson writes in Payments News an article entitled; "How would you prefer to pay?" Here's the article:

"At Glenbrook, we often conclude one of our Payments Boot Camps with an informal poll of participants on their favored cash replacement form factor (mobile phone, fingerprint, etc.) At a private payments workshop in San Francisco last week, we were surprised by the strength of that group's response in favor of fingerprint.

Editor's Note: For what reason (other than perhaps Glenbrook's own personal misperceptions, were they surprised? Have they not been made aware of the the report from Unisys:
Consumers Want Biometrics which unequivocally states:

Across the board, a large majority of consumers in the United States (63 percent) and United Kingdom (87 percent) believe that the rise in identity fraud and the insufficient protection of personal information will become a significant security threat in the future, and feel that financial institutions and government are not doing enough to stop it. As a result, an even greater percent of U.S. consumers (69 percent) and U.K. consumers (92 percent) would prefer that banks, credit card companies, healthcare providers and government organizations adopt biometric technologies, as compared to other protection measures such as smart card readers, security tokens or passwords/PINs, to safely and quickly verify personal identities.

Anyway, back to their post: We decided to test it out (still pretty informally!) with a quick Facebook poll. We asked: "How would you prefer to pay for cash purchases (for example, for lunch or coffee) in the future?" Answer Options:

  • "Using a card that I tap or wave at checkout"
  • "Using a card fob on my keychain"
  • "Using my cell phone (linked to card payment)"
  • "Using my fingerprint (linked to card payment)"
  • "I'd rather stick with cash"
The responses came from two age groups, 18-24 and 35-49. Each group had 100 responders. Here are the results:

We were again "interested in the strength of preference" for fingerprint - in both age groups, but particularly for the younger group.

Editors Note: Frankly, because of the nature of the question in the poll, I'm somewhat surprised at the number of respondents who chose "fingerprint" as well. On the other hand...(pun intended) had they called it a "fingerscan" or even better yet; "biometrics" the numbers would have, I would argue, been even higher.

Furthermore, I would put forth the idea that had they put biometrics as the first choice, instead of "contactless" then the numbers would certainly have been higher.

When given multiple choice questions in non-political polls, the first option listed always has a higher selection ratio than the fourth one listed. So, I would argue that these numbers are skewed against biometrics, yet biometrics was still the most popular choice. In fact, in the younger crowd, those aged 18-24, it was even more popular than "CASH". Sounds like the future of biometrics is very interesting indeed.

Assuming I'm "right" about it being skewed, then I would ask what else on "Payment News" might be. There was a article a couple weeks ago that incensed me. It was written by Evan Shuman in e-Week on Contactless vs. Biometrics. I felt he had skewed reality as well. Maybe I'll post the e-mail dialogue we had with each other. He turned out to be a decent guy, so maybe not as I was rather harsh on him. I'll think about it. In the meantime, I found a graphic that exemplifies the distortion created by the "media vs. reality!" (See B.S. graphic "on your left")

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