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David Marcus welcomes the arrival of iPhone fingerprint authentication

Marcus, president of Pay Pal, and a long term advocate of mobile payment sees Apple’s latest development as the start of a long overdue breakthrough.

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David Marcus / Getty

Well before David Marcus was named the president of PayPal’s in April 2012 he was already well known for his vision and desire to revolutionize the way that people make mobile payments.

Now thanks to the long-awaited introduction of finger authentication technology that Apple has included in their latest iPhone the 5s, that vision is very much closer to becoming a reality.

The reason being that the Apple 5s is the first Smartphone to feature Touch ID, where it owners can use a fingerprint sensor not only to unlock the device to make it ineffective to anyone who steals it but more importantly, at least in Marcus’s opinion, is that the technology will allow the owner to make totally secure purchases through their mobile phone.

iPhone 5s fingerprint technology has reportedly been developed by AuthenTec, which was acquired by Apple for $356 million in 2012. It was obvious that Apple were very much in the hunt for fingerprint identification technology and the almost immediately sold off large chunks of AuthenTec’s other divisions while hanging onto as well as probably developing the fingerprint sensor division.

The key to the fingerprint development technology on the Apple iPhone 5s is unlocked by simply touching a clearly marked “ home button” handily situated at the bottom of the device, traditionally being the first button place that it owners press when they open their phones. The owner’s fingerprints, as well as any other qualified users, are added to the device, and then encrypted and saved to the phone’s chip. That means anyone accepting payments through the iPhone 5s can be almost hundred percent guaranteed that the transaction is infinitely more secure than those made through credit cards.

Having this technology at their fingertips will go a long way in helping Apple gain back some of their market share through their phones being able to facilitate mobile payments. A development that PayPal have been preparing for a number of years.

Possibly in anticipation of the launch of the Apple iPhone 5s, PayPal recently completed a major upgrade of their payment facilities that will now allow the account holder on the move to use their PayPal account to make mobile purchases, thanks to a new application, specially developed for the company, known as PayPal Here.

PayPal Here, PayPal’s small business mobile payment facility was launched in March of this year, is gradually becoming available throughout the world.

While PayPal has always been traditionally looked upon as the most secure way of making purchases online, without the need to exchange credit card details, Marcus has caused them to recognize and prepare for the increasing desire among consumers to have the same facilities available when making payments in a bricks and mortar’s business such as a retail store, a restaurant, a hotel and countless other situations where statistics show that 90% of all transactions are made.

With the PayPal Here application already available for iPhones as well as Android phones, and coming with an integral feature where account holders can rapidly access details of any business in the geographical region that accept payments through PayPal, the entire process of being able to safe and secure mobile phone driven transactions just got a lot closer,
According to David Marcus, Apple may have been the first to break the ice but, within the next few years, most high-end Smartphones will have no option but to emulate them and offer fingerprint identified logins.

A proof in their belief that fingerprint identified patient technology is going to revolutionize mobile transactions, is that PayPal were one of the driving forces in the launch of the “FIDO Alliance” which stands for Fast Identity Online. The group is committed to the development of common and transparent standards for the use of fingerprints and other biometrics to identify users. Other participants in the initiative include Google, BlackBerry and Lenovo while the feeling is that most of the World’s leading banks and payment processing companies will eventually have no option but to develop apps for  the iPhone as well as the other Smartphones to handle this new, secure method of authentication.

Meanwhile it looks like PayPal will be leading the field thanks to David Marcus’s innovativeness and vision


David Marcus was born in Paris, France, but grew up in Geneva, where he attended the University of Geneva for just a few semesters, before dropping out to pursue his burning ambition to become an online entrepreneur.

His first startup, GTN was launched in 1996 when Marcus was just 23. In the space of just four years, Marcus grew GTN grew to become amongst Switzerland’s leading alternative telecommunications carriers within the space of four years before it was acquired by World Access in 2000.

David Marcus’s next major venture was Zong, opened in 2008 while he was living in the hotbed of startup technology, Silicon Valley, on the West Coast of the United States. Zong was based on a concept that allowed consumers to pay quickly and conveniently through entering their mobile phone number with the transaction being charged to their wireless account.

PayPal like the concept and acquired, Zong in 2011. They obviously liked David Marcus even more and he was handed of vice president of mobile, with the responsibility of leading the transition of the company’s mobile product and business divisions, leading to the development and launch of PayPal Here.






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