NatWest, the U.K. bank, is kicking off a test in which customers can use biometric fingerprint technology for card payments.
According to a report in CNBC, citing NatWest, about 200 customers will participate in the pilot, with each of them able to use a fingerprint to make payments of more than £30 ($39.11). NatWest said the technology is aimed at increasing security and making it easier for customers to pay for items. Currently, contactless card users have to enter a PIN to make purchases of more than £30, noted the report.
The new card being tested has the fingerprint data and sensor built in. NatWest has tapped Gemalto, Visa and Mastercard to launch the new card.
“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 UK Finance, CNBC reported that 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.