Cyber Monday 2016: Let’s make this the last holiday shopping season using passwords (

If you’re like most Americans, you’ll be doing even more of your holiday shopping online this year. And if you’re a Millennial, chances are even greater you’ll be buying your Christmas and Chanukah presents on your mobile phone.

In fact, forecasts show Cyber Monday will match or beat Black Friday this season. And consumer research firm, Fluent, reports Americans are growing more comfortable with phone shopping. Yet the frustrating truth is that countless online and mobile shopping carts will be abandoned at checkout.

Why? Because we forget our passwords and give up. Only Ebenezer Scrooge could love a password that requires more letters, numbers and symbols – yet that’s becoming standard practice!

Passwords were first invented when the Beatles were topping the pop music charts. It is difficult to fathom why we continue to force consumers to use 50-year-old technology to authenticate their identities when we now have the ability to actually use their real identity – their face, voice or fingerprints – to prove it’s them making the purchase. Not only is it infinitely more convenient, it’s more secure, too.

Fifteen years ago, Smartphones, tablet computers and social media were not in our lexicon. Facebook was still three years away and Steve Jobs wouldn’t launch the iPhone for another six.

Today, of course, those Smartphones, with their powerful apps, are glued to our hands; Twitter and YouTube are ubiquitous; and tech giants such as Google and Amazon continue to surge, making our world much smaller and more connected.

Of course, that connectedness poses great challenges for governments, business and individuals. Cyber crimes and identity theft are soaring as hackers and thieves constantly search for new ways to fraudulently impersonate us.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago, a new Department of Homeland Security turned to nascent technology called biometrics to secure our borders. Biometrics uses human factors that are uniquely you to electronically authenticate identification. The US-VISIT program was launched at more than 100 airports and seaports, collecting the fingerprints and digital photographs of those crossing our boarders.

At the same time, democracies around the world were looking to secure their own borders and also turned to biometrics as a solution. My company was proud to be a part of that effort.

Fifteen years after 9/11 innovative companies such as Mastercard and the financial institution serving military families, USAA are turning to biometrics, bringing the security and convenience to their customers. They are paying attention to what we know to be true: 53 percent of shoppers forget passwords, and one-third abandon their on-line shopping carts altogether. What’s more, nine out of ten consumers overwhelmingly prefer biometrics over passwords when given a choice.

When Apple launched its Touch ID technology several years ago – which allows users to unlock iPhones and authorize purchases using their fingerprint – millions of Smartphone users were immediately introduced to the power of biometrics.

Today that same feature can be found on most advanced Smartphones, which has sped up the learning curve for novice tech users who perhaps were unfamiliar with biometrics. And all Smartphones have cameras and microphones, providing the opportunity to give consumers the freedom of choice in how they authenticate through their unique face or voice.

In 2012, tech companies PayPal and Lenovo were among those who formed the FIDO Alliance to advance the vision of simple and secure authentication designed to move the world beyond passwords. Tremendous advancements have since been made. Unlike passwords, each year biometric software becomes more reliable and more secure. And it’s not just Millennials who are taking advantage of biometrics. USAA wanted to be inclusive to all its members who have now done tens of millions of biometric authentications across all demographics, including those over 90 years old!

We are witnessing this technology sweep across all digital channels. Think of our early encounter with the Internet.  First we “browsed” and used Netscape. Then we “searched” and turned to Google. And next we “shared” with Facebook.  The next big problem that needs to be solved is “trust”. Biometric authentication establishes trust between two parties. One doesn’t need to compromise convenience for security.

Hopefully more payment companies, banks and retailers are watching the trend lines. Companies with modern digital applications still using old password-based systems are going to look ridiculous.

Let’s do away with Scrooge once and for all, and make this the last holiday shopping season we have to remember our forgettable passwords.

Tom Grissen is the CEO of Daon in Reston, VA. Daon is a board member of the FIDO Alliance, a national organization seeking to remove the world’s dependency on passwords through open standards for strong authentication.

The above Op-Ed was published by (Fox News Opinion) on November 28, 2016. To read the Op-Ed as originally published by Fox News Opinion, please click here.