Royal Bank of Scotland subsidiary NatWest is launching a biometric payments card pilot.

Customers will use their fingerprint to verify transactions over £30. According to NatWest this increases security and makes it easier for customers when paying retailers at the tills. Customers using the biometric payments card will not require to enter a PIN.

David Crawford, Head of Effortless Payments says: “We are using the very latest technology across our business to make banking easier for our customers. 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 we are excited to trial the service.”

NatWest is working closely with digital security company Gemalto along with Visa and Mastercard to launch the service.

Howard Berg, UK MD of Gemalto says: “Using a fingerprint rather than a PIN code to authorise transactions has many advantages, primarily enhanced security and greater convenience. Cardholders can pay quickly and easily with just a simple touch. And they no longer need to worry about the limit on contactless payment transactions.”

NatWest says that 200 customers are taking part in the biometric payments card pilot.

Biometric payments card: a first for Gemalto

Gemalto launched the first biometric EMV card for contactless payments with Bank of Cyprus in January.

Notably, the card is compatible with existing payment terminals already installed in Cyprus. So when customers place their fingerprint on the sensor, a comparison is performed between the scanned fingerprint and the reference biometric data securely stored in the card.
The biometric sensor card is powered by the payment terminal. It does not require an embedded battery. In particular, there is no limit from battery life nor on the number of transactions. ​

Bank of Cyprus’ customers complete the enrolment process at the bank’s branches, using Gemalto’s tablet designed for the solution.