Authentication for payment via iris technology soon

Delta ID’s PoS terminal will authenticate customers’ iris scans to facilitate payments using Aadhaar


Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint
Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

The iris technology that is currently part of mobile phones and tablets will soon be used in point-of-sale (PoS) terminals such as cash registers.

Delta ID, an iris technology developer for mobile phones, is planning to make PoS terminals using this technology.

ActiveIRIS, developed by Delta ID, was in the news recently after its iris scan became the first such software to be approved by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

This technology will now be integrated to be used at PoS terminals to facilitate seamless payments with or without credit/debit cards.

The PoS terminal will scan and authenticate the iris of the customer to facilitate payments using Aadhaar. If the user has linked a bank account to the Aadhaar number, the payment can be made with just the iris scan—the money will be transferred from the customer’s bank account to the merchant’s account. If the customer is using a credit card, the iris scan on the PoS can be used for authentication.

Vivek Khandelwal, vice-president, business development, Delta ID Inc., said this will facilitate a contactless and touch-less experience.

“The next platform that we are looking at, as suggested by UIDAI, is PoS terminals. Imagine a scenario, making a payment without carrying a credit or debit card. Again, if I were to make a payment at a PoS terminal, I would look for higher security and more reliability, which this technology offers,” he said.

PoS terminals include cash registers, computers and hand-held devices that can handle debit and credit cards.

A UIDAI official confirmed that the authority has asked Delta ID to look at more uses for the iris scan software.

With the introduction of the Unified Payments Interface, iris scan can be used for Aadhaar authentication to validate a transaction before transferring money.

“It gives confidence to our customers that this technology has been approved by UIDAI. With less than 1% failure rate, people will be ready to build devices with this technology,” said Khandelwal.

The software was tested in May on Samsung Galaxy Tab Iris by the government’s STQC (Standardization, Testing and Quality Certification) service, in collaboration with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, a research and development organization of the department of electronics and information technology, and UIDAI.

With more than 1 billion Aadhaar enrolments, the use of Aadhaar for resident authentication including as proof of identity and proof of address and for electronic KYC (know your customer) is expected to rapidly spread across services for government and private enterprises.

This is the market that Delta ID is looking to capture as it believes that iris authentication will be widely accepted as a secure and reliable biometric authenticator. Iris scan works across all age groups.

Rahul Matthan, partner at Trilegal, a law firm, said there are more than 650 million debit cards in circulation in India, but on average, an Indian concludes no more than six non-cash transactions in a year.

“There is no point having PoS terminals with a technology that people don’t use; we have to find a way in which even a roadside person can make cashless payments. If this idea is implemented properly, it can be very revolutionary,” he said.

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