How biometrics perform identity authentication

We look under the hood of the technology that's regarded as the most reliable methods of identity authentication.

First things first: what are biometrics? Instead of using something you know (like a password) or something you have (like a token), biometrics checks for something your are (like your face, fingerprint, voice, or iris) to identify you.

Unlike passwords or tokens, your biological traits are difficult to manipulate, copy or forget. This increases the confidence that you are who you claim to be when logging in, which helps secure your account more effectively than traditional passwords, QR codes, or RFIDs. In this post, we outline how biometric authentication can work for user identification and verification and address some popular concerns, such as data handling and storage.

What do biometrics use to perform authentication of identity?

Although the technology behind biometric authentication is complex, the process of identifying an individual is a seamless one and works in three steps:

1. Data capture If your biometric data is being captured for the first time into a system, such as when you are creating an account, the system records your image or a specific physical feature. It will usually pair this information with your personal information, such as your name, location, and identification number, which might be provided through an ID document scan or manually entered.

2. Storage Contrary to popular belief, biometric systems don’t collect and store images or data in their complete, raw format. In other words, staff in a company cannot just go into the system and find your photo or video selfie file. Instead, the system analyzes your specific biological traits and translates them into code. More often than not, this code is recorded into an access-control portable device or a smart card.

3. Verification After the user’s data and identification details are captured and stored, the system compares the data points with the information you present the next time you access a platform. Once the process is complete, the verification system either accepts or rejects your access.

Benefits of biometric authentication

Biometric authentication is a more robust and secure method to verify the genuine identity of a user because the machine processes your facial features each time and matches them to the biological traits stored in code. People may be able to take something you know (a password) or something you have (your smartphone) to gain access to your accounts, but it is not as easy to take your fingerprint or face (especially with a video selfie). This means that biometric authentication helps reduce the probability of identity theft, manipulation or fraud.

One of the bigger benefits of facial recognition login is that users are not required to undergo a cumbersome process when proving their identity. For enterprises and business units, the technology helps them sift out threat actors and fake accounts in order to avoid a $3.92 million cost.


With Passbase’s GDPR compliant tool, the verification is seamless. Within a matter of minutes, companies are able to verify that their users are indeed who they claim to be without compromising on data privacy or security.

By leveraging NIST-certified facial recognition technology and liveness detection, supported by government-issued identity documents, the platform limits any room for fraudulent access.

Better yet, users can exercise more control over their data and decide what data to share and who to share it with. This builds stronger security, compliance and accuracy into the verification process.

Interested in learning more? Get started with Passbase today!

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Passbase is an identity verification solution that makes facial recognition, liveness detection, ID verification and KYC and AML compliance accessible through a suite of flexible developer tools. A zero-knowledge architecture ensures that companies using Passbase can securely verify users from over 190 countries without having to store their data. Built for developers, it can be integrated with just a few lines of code on iOS, Android, and Web.