The first biometric fingerprint card issued by a UK bank has entered circulation. As part of a national trial, NatWest is piloting the technology with 200 customers, who can now use their fingerprint to verify transactions above the £30 contactless limit.
designed to increase security, the biometric tech makes it easier for customers when paying for goods or services at the tills as no PIN is required. As well as retaining contactless functionality, the fully integrated card can be used as normal in ATMs, the post office and for digital banking.
A fingerprint is registered onto the bank card – this can be done in a customer’s own home. Once a fingerprint is locked onto a card it cannot be changed. The fingerprint is only held on the card and not centrally by the bank with each transaction verified using data which is encrypted and stored locally on the card.
The new cards work with existing contactless and Chip and Pin terminals meaning shops will be able to accept payments without updating their technology.
“We are using the very latest technology across our business to make banking easier for our customers and biometric fingerprint cards are one of the many technologies we are exploring further. This is the biggest development in card technology in recent years and it’s great to finally see the cards in the hands of our customers,” said David Crawford, head of payments at NatWest.
Howard Berg, senior vice president, UK Ireland and Switzerland of Gemalto, a Thales Company, said: “We are thrilled to be the first in the UK to bring this exciting payment innovation to UK consumers. We’re confident that consumers will love the convenience, enhanced security and great user experience that this new card provides. Biometric authentication and identification is set to transform financial services and we’re proud to be leading the way in this field alongside our partners.”
Jeni Mundy, managing director, UK & Ireland, Visa, added: “In financial services, biometrics are gaining ground as a secure and convenient alternative to passwords and PINs. This technology has the potential to make the lives of consumers easier and provides greater choice to confirm their identity. At Visa we’re committed to working with partners to develop and invest in emerging capabilities that deliver a better, more secure payment experience for consumers.”
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