Biometrics is the technology that measures and analyzes human physical and behavioral characteristics for authentication purposes.
Physical characteristics used in biometrics include fingerprints, iris and face recognition, hand geometry, vein pattern recognition, handwriting analysis, and body odor. Behavioral characteristics include gait (the manner of walking) and voice pitch.
Biometrics is one of the most effective ways to verify a person's identity. Unlike a password or PIN number, your biometric data cannot be easily compromised by hackers; it's attached to you personally.
In the case of fingerprint biometrics, the user's fingerprints are scanned by a sensor and then matched with previously stored values to ensure they are who they say they are.
Fingerprint scanners have been around for years but were primarily confined to high-security applications such as prisons or government buildings. However, as the technology has improved and become more widely available, it is now being used by many companies in their day-to-day operations. This includes retail stores which use fingerprint scanners to allow customers to pay for goods without having to take out their wallets or purses.