NatWest Is Testing Biometric Credit Cards

NatWest Is Testing Biometric Credit Cards

U.K. bank NatWest has started a three-month trial of a biometric credit card that will use a fingerprint in lieu of a PIN.

CNBC reported that the test was launched on Oct. 7, and it’s in tandem with Mastercard and the digital security company Gemalto. There will be 150 users will be involved in the test. 

It works like this: if a transaction is more than £30 ($36.66), a fingerprint will be used to verify it. If the purchase is more than £100, then the card needs to be put into a terminal with the fingerprint as additional verification. 

If a customer is at an ATM, then a PIN will still need to be entered. The biometric card will also be able to be used for buying things online, and it will function with contactless devices as well. 

The card has been successful so far and the bank wants to “test the technology further with credit cards,” according to Georgina Bulkeley, NatWest’s director of strategy and innovation.

“This is the biggest development in card technology in recent years and not having to enter a PIN not only increases security but makes it easier for our customers when paying for goods or services,” she said.

NatWest launched a test of biometric debit cards earlier this year. 

In the U.K., there’s been a change of how people pay for products and services. The U.K. Finance’s UK Payment Markets 2019 report showed that contactless payments were on the rise. In 2018, the number of contactless payments hit 7.4 billion, which is up 31 percent from the year before. Biometric cards could become even more popular in the coming years.

“The lack of obstacles inhibiting the introduction of biometric cards — from integrated Chip and PIN machines to ATMs — suggests that if this trial is successful, biometric cards could soon become the norm, just like paying with your phone has rapidly become routine for many people in recent years,” said Simon King, a partner at Octopus Ventures.