Mobile Payments
Cybersecurity Europe Paytech

Vodafone and AWS Trail Keyless’ Software-as-a-Service Biometrics To Improve Payment Experience

Keyless, a London based cybersecurity firm, has built a biometric software solution that could help payments providers deploy instant, frictionless payments experiences to all their customers – not just those who have the latest gadgets. This solution aims to reduce the Inconsistent and tedious authentication experiences that have caused at least six in 10 consumers to abandon digital payments.

As a software solution that is interoperable with all modern mobile devices, Keyless readily enhances digital banking by making the payments experience more intuitive, secure and private for all users –  irrespective of what devices they use to access mobile banking applications.

The underlying privacy-enhancing technology Keyless uses – secure multiparty computation – enables multiple cloud servers, in different locations, to jointly process authentication requests without disclosing any data between them. The application of this technology to online authentication ensures that biometric data and personally identifiable information is never at risk, enabling companies to embrace cutting edge solutions without compliance risks.

To demonstrate how the mobile banking and payments industry can benefit from cutting-edge technology deployed on London’s 5G infrastructure, Keyless recently tested the speed and latency of its authentication software using Amazon Web Services (AWS) Wavelength on Vodafone’s 5G network. AWS Wavelength embeds AWS compute and storage services on the edge of 5G networks to help developers build applications requiring ultra-low latencies, massive bandwidth, and high speeds.

In areas where 5G was strongest, enrollment for biometric multi-factor authentication took approximately three seconds, with payments authentication taking just over half a second – what feels like instantaneous, live-time authentication to the user. This has broad implications for Vodafone’s commercial customers in the mobile banking and payments industry, where good user experience goes hand in hand with customer retention.

Today’s multi-factor authentication solutions can take minutes to complete, resulting in increased customer frustration and lack of retention for businesses. According to FIDO, 68% of consumers believe biometrics are quicker and easier to use than traditional two-factor authentication solutions that require passwords and one-time passwords (such as those sent to a device via SMS or push notifications).

Keyless also recorded rapid deployment of its compute-hevy technology on Vodafone’s 5G Network, with deployment completed in a matter of hours. The dramatic reduction in deployment time means mobile banking and payments providers in London can quickly and readily roll out Keyless’s device-agnostic technology to large, distributed customer sets – helping to readily enhance customer experiences.

Anne Sheehan, Business Director at Vodafone UK said this on the success of the testing pilot with Keyless: “Identifying a challenge and solution is the basis of any successful business, and that is exactly what Keyless has done here. The blend of 5G and MEC radically improves the speed of successful authentication and payments, which will eventually lead to greater adoption of biometric solutions. Working with companies like Keyless is what excites us at Vodafone; it is an opportunity to use technology to enhance a business and make a direct impact on the digital world.”

Andrea Carmignani is Keyless’ co-founder and CEO. On how Keyless’ software-as-a-service solution can help businesses enhance the mobile banking and payments experience, Carmignani said: “Until now, if payment providers wanted to deploy biometric payment authentication to their customers, they’d have little control over the authentication experience, as most authentication solutions rely on device-native capabilities which alternative between different manufacturers,”

Carmigani further went on to discuss how the rollout of 5G can help enhance mobile banking: “5G will enable instant, real-time processing of authentication requests, powered by compute-heavy distributed cloud software. This could be a major step-change in the mobile banking and payments industry, enabling payments providers to deploy consistently frictionless payments experiences to their customers, while simultaneously enhancing security and privacy.”

Paolo Gasti, Keyless’ co-founder and CTO, said this on the drawbacks of device-native biometrics for mobile banking and payments authentication: Currently, device-dependent authentication mechanisms are the industry standard for biometric-enabled passwordless authentication, however, vendors that rely on device-dependent mechanisms face a number of limitations – like being bound by a manufacturer’s technology, as well as a lack of interoperability between devices.”

Gasti continued saying, “When Keyless processes authentication requests a number of things are happening on the device and in the cloud to enable biometric-enabled authentication without risking privacy. First, we capture, encrypt and distort biometric data on the device through our software application – then we send those fragments to different cloud servers to be stored securely. The speed of this process can be dramatically improved by AWS Wavelength Zones in London on Vodafone’s 5G network.”

“When a user authenticates, the same process happens, however different servers in our network then use privacy-first cryptography to validate whether or not incoming data match those previously-stored in our servers. This compute-heavy process can appear instant in areas where 5G signal is strongest – offering users a fast, frictionless authentication experience enabled by biometric technology.“



  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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