NatWest launching biometric payment card pilot

Written by Peter Walker

As part of a national trial, NatWest is due to begin piloting biometric fingerprint technology with 200 customers in the coming weeks.

Customers will use their fingerprint to verify transactions over £30, increasing security and making it easier for customers when paying for goods or services at the tills, as no PIN is required.

David Crawford, head of effortless payments, said: “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.”

NatWest is working closely with digital security company Gemalto, along with Visa and Mastercard, to bring the service to customers in the UK.

Howard Berg, UK managing director of Gemalto, said: “Using a fingerprint rather than a PIN code to authorise transactions has many advantages, primarily enhanced security and greater convenience.”

A survey of 821 UK cardholders for Gemalto in October revealed that more than half would be ready to use biometric fingerprint scan cards if they were available from their bank, with 83 per cent saying it would become their preferred payment card.

NatWest is not the first to try fingerprint recognition on cards, with Société Générale trialling a bank card with a fingerprint sensor in October last year, following testing by Japanese payments firm JCB in April 2018.

At the start of 2018, Mastercard committed to biometric security measures being implemented by this April, so appears to be staying on track, while around the same time, Visa began trialling a biometric-enabled contactless payment card.

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