Biometrics are now the second-most adopted authentication technology behind only passwords, according to the FIDO Alliance's new Online Authentication Barometer. It reveals that biometrics, such as using fingerprints and face scans, are being used by at least 35% of people and are by far the most popular form of online authentication behind passwords. The barometer highlights how adoption of biometrics for online authentication varies widely internationally, yet all countries surveyed reported at least 25% of the population are using biometrics in some capacity.

The organization launched its Online Authentication Barometer to track the uptake of secure authentication technologies among the general public. The Online Authentication Barometer provides baseline insights into the state of online authentication in 10 countries across the globe, with future releases of the barometer able to compare changes in behaviors and attitudes over time.

The Online Authentication Barometer research was conducted among 10,000 consumers across the U.K., France, Germany, U.S., Australia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, India and China. The interviews were conducted online by Sapio Research in September 2021 using an email invitation and an online survey.

Passwords and other knowledge-based approaches such as OTPs have historically dominated online authentication and the barometer confirms this is still the case. However, major platform and device manufacturers including Apple, Google and Microsoft have begun adopting possession-based, passwordless alternatives into their core product offerings to improve security and convenience. As these and other initiatives gain traction, the world’s reliance upon passwords and other server-side “secrets” is expected to decrease in favor of modern solutions including biometrics, security keys and other on-device approaches for user authentication.

32% of those surveyed by the barometer perceived biometrics to be the most secure way for people to verify their identity online. Biometrics are also the preferred method of logging in for 28% of people surveyed.

For more results from the barometer, click here.