Today an interesting company named Sign2Pay came to give us an introduction into bio-metric validation, and to be more specific: it’s application in m-commerce (mobile commerce). This mostly applies to mobile commerce since you need a touch screen for this kind of validation, typing in your signature or using a mouse to do so just doesn’t cut it…
So first things first…why would you want to buy things with just your signature? At first glance that doesn’t seem to be that secure. I’m sure a lot of people tried to falsify their parents signature at least once in their lives to sign something for school…and maybe you even got away with it cause you were good at it?
Digital signatures are more secure than you might think. On paper the only verification is what you see. And the human eye only sees the result of the signature, if it looks good then its authentic.
On computers on the other hand, you can monitor the entire process of the signature:
- how long it takes to write a certain letter
- do you make stops somewhere halfway and start on a different spot
And a good thing about this kind of system is, that it can learn along the way. The more times you write your signature, the better the system gets at recognizing that the signature has been written by you. It can learn your “digital writing” habits.
In conclusion, I think we can say that this can (and probably is) be more secure than a password, and a lot more secure than a pin code.
Applications in m-commerce
Buying things on the net has been around a lot longer on computers than it has been on mobile devices. The advantage of mobile devices is that they are usually always connected to the internet, meaning that you can stop and shop at any point of the day in any place. And that is a big advantage for the consumer, but also for the retailer. It means more conversions since people can shop at your store, while being at your biggest competitor that is just that few euros more expensive.
But then the biggest problem occurs at the end of the shopping flow…paying for your order. If you do not have a PayPal account here in Belgium, it means you have to go through a 2 step verification process that requires you to have a card reader with you. In most cases one specific for that bank.
If you don’t have it with you, then the flow stops and its no conversion for the retailer at all. That’s where Sign2Pay comes in, no 2 step verification and something you can never forget at home: your signature.
The service itself is quite similar to PayPal, but only the authentication isn’t your username and password. It’s the link between you and your bank account. It will also increase the speed that someone can make a purchase.
And a faster conversion means people have less time to change their minds!
Off course, like with any system like Sign2Pay, you need to turn over a part of the transaction. In this case it is 2,5% + €0.25. This means its cheaper than PayPal, but more expensive than a payment provider like Ingenico.
I think this way of payment has quite a lot of potential. Not just in m-commerce, but also in businesses and in department stores. Just think that at the register of your favorite super market you can pay with your signature if you have forgotten your card at home, or simply because it is more secure than your pin-code!