Bank's economists: Retina scans, vein patterns could eliminate PIN codes, passwords

- Adoption rates for biometric measures to surge, particularly in financial sector, they say

- Benefits from biometric authentication go beyond security, researchers write in new report

Jul 27, 2015, 11:00 ET from BBVA Compass

HOUSTON, July 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A wave of capital and new technology centered on biometrics, physiological and behavioral authentication is quickly making the world of PINs and passwords a thing of the past, according to "Biometrics: the Future of Mobile Payments," a new report by BBVA Compass economists.

Biometric measures use DNA, fingerprints, eye retinas and irises, voice recognition, facial patterns, vein patterns and hand measurements to authenticate and verify people's identities. The advanced technology has been quickly adopted by smartphone users — Apple's iPhone uses fingerprint device recognition — and it could soon revolutionize banking, the economists write in the report.

"Biometric authentication is growing at a fast pace and shows great potential to protect individual data and enhance customer experience, particularly in the banking industry," said BBVA Compass Chief Economist Nathaniel Karp. "Biometrics in banking is most popular in developing economies in Asia, such as India and Indonesia; the Americas rank second."

Current estimates say the global biometrics technology market in the financial sector alone could reach into the billions by 2020. This includes biometric sensors, biometric app downloads, direct purchase and software development fees and authentications fees from biometrically secured payment and non-payment transactions.

Uncertainty about biometric authentication's ability to guarantee the protection of personal information is common, but a recent survey found that one in five members of generations X and Y would be willing to share their DNA to help secure financial and personal information.

According to the BBVA Compass research report, the benefits of biometrics go beyond strengthening proof of identity and enhancing fraud detection. 

"As biometrically-enabled devices become standard, critical industries such as banking will be able to offer better customer experience, faster processing times, lower costs and facilitate a multi-channel environment across industries in a seamless fashion," said Karp.

Led by BBVA Compass Chief Economist Nathaniel Karp, the bank's research team analyzes the U.S. economy and Federal Reserve monetary policy. For its analyses, the economists create models and forecasts for growth, inflation, monetary policy and industries. The economic research team also follows a variety of issues that affect the Sunbelt states where BBVA Compass operate.

About BBVA Group
BBVA Compass is a subsidiary of BBVA Compass Bancshares Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of BBVA (NYSE: BBVA) (MAD: BBVA). BBVA is a customer-centric global financial services group founded in 1857. The Group has a solid position in Spain, is the largest financial institution in Mexico and has leading franchises in South America and the Sunbelt region of the United States. Its diversified business is geared toward high-growth markets and relies on technology as a key sustainable competitive advantage. Corporate responsibility is at the core of its business model. BBVA fosters financial education and inclusion, and supports scientific research and culture. It operates with the highest integrity, a long-term vision and applies the best practices. The Group is present in the main sustainability indexes. More information about the BBVA Group can be found at

About BBVA Compass BBVA Compass is a Sunbelt-based financial institution that operates 672 branches, including 341 in Texas, 89 in Alabama, 77 in Arizona, 62 in California, 45 in Florida, 38 in Colorado and 20 in New Mexico, and commercial and private client offices throughout the U.S. BBVA Compass ranks among the top 25 largest U.S. commercial banks based on deposit market share and ranks among the largest banks in Alabama (2nd), Texas (4th) and Arizona (5th). BBVA Compass has been recognized as one of the leading small business lenders by the Small Business Administration, and its mobile app recently earned the Mobile Banking Leader in Functionality Award for the second consecutive year from Javelin Strategy & Research. Additional information about BBVA Compass can be found at, by following @BBVACompassNews on Twitter or visiting

Editor's Note: BBVA Compass is a trade name of Compass Bank.

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