Password or fingerprint? 53 percent of Americans said they would be willing to replace their passwords with fingerprint scans

PayPal study finds consumers okay with biometrics

By Hayley Tsukayama, Published: October 9

Apple’s newest iPhone may have spurred some debate over whether it’s a good idea to unlock your phone with your fingerprint, but a new study from PayPal finds that a majority of Americans are comfortable with the idea of using their biometric information instead of the pesky passwords that are currently the norm. The survey, sponsored by PayPal and the National Cyber Security Alliance, found that 53 percent of Americans are “comfortable” replacing passwords with fingerprints, 45 percent would opt for a retinal scan, and 41 percent are comfortable with photo identification.Other responses to the survey sketches a picture of Americans that suggests we’re more reliant than ever on our smartphones but still very unsure about the proper security measure we should be taking on our mobile devices.

Two-thirds of Americans said that they keep their smartphones no farther than one room away — and 10 percent said they have their smartphones in hand at all times when not showering or sleeping. But nearly as many people, 63 percent, said that they don’t know or are unsure about what kind of financial information they store on their phones.

So it’s no surprise that while nearly a quarter of Americans say they’ve completed at least one transaction on their phone per day and one-fifth have installed payment apps on their phones, nearly 70 percent of Americans feel that storing payment information on mobile devices isn’t safe.

That’s one of the obstacles that’s proven a problem for companies of all stripes trying to increase adoption of mobile-based payments. The survey did find that around 17 percent of Americans said they conduct at least a quarter of their purchases via smartphones in an average week, but the data also show that consumers need convincing about the need for mobile payment options and reassurances that paying by phone is really secure.

One thing that does appear to be clear from the survey is that consumers want companies to do the bulk of heavy lifting when it comes to securing financial data. While those surveyed said that they’re comfortable with using their biometric data to replace passwords, it turns out not that many of them actually use them for their phones.

More than half, 56 percent, told PayPal that they do not take the simplest step to protect their mobile devices — setting up a PIN number.

The survey was conducted for National Cyber Security Awareness Month and fielded responses from 1,000 U.S. adults on Sept. 17 and 18, 2013.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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