UK Bank NatWest Introduces Biometric Payments


U.K. bank NatWest has announced a biometric payment technology for its commercial and business customers.

The new development will allow for customers to make payments through an app using Apple’s FaceID or TouchID, CNBC reported.

Once a device is registered, a customer can set up the biometric authentication, which will require a six-digit code. The new technology will be introduced to iOS users first, and then on Android and other systems in the latter part of the year.

NatWest Chief Operating Officer for Commercial and Private Banking James Holian, told CNBC that the system will allow for “unprecedented levels of security”  featuring three unique authentication levels, and that it will let customers make payments of any size.

“We feel this is another important innovation that will make it easier for our customers to get on with doing what they do best: running their business,” he said.

In March, NatWest announced that it was going to test out biometric fingerprint tech for paying with cards. That endeavor will let customers use their fingerprint to verify payments that are more than 30 pounds, or $39.16. The new cards will have a sensor and fingerprint data, and users simply put their fingers on the sensor to authorize the payment.

“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,” said David Crawford, head of effortless payments at NatWest. “This is the biggest development in card technology in recent years, and we are excited to trial the service.”

The move on the part of NatWest comes amid rising adoption of contactless payments in the U.K. Citing U.K. Finance, the news report said contactless payments increased 97 percent in 2017, reaching 5.6 billion. At the end of that year, there were close to 119 million contactless cards being used, and that has since grown further. Cashless payments account for one in two in-store transactions and two out of five face-to-face Visa transactions in the country.

In late November, commerce company NMI installed contactless donation points in the U.K. for a charity event and raised 309 percent more than it did without the payment method. In a press release at the time, the company said contactless payments open up new revenue streams, particularly for charities.


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