October 8, 2019

Natwest launches first biometric credit card in the UK

By Ellen Daniel

Natwest has launched the first biometric credit card in the UK, allowing customers to make payments using only their fingerprints.

Through a partnership with Mastercard and digitial security company Gemalto, Natwest is beginning a three-month national trial of the technology, involving 150 customers.

Earlier this year, the bank trialled a biometric debit card with 200 customers, but according to the bank this is the first time a fingerprint credit card has been trialled in the UK.

Using the card, customers can make contactless transactions of up to £100, verified using their fingerprints, with no need for a pin number. Previously the limit for contactless transactions was set at £30.

Natwest biometric card applies “biggest development in card technology in recent years”

According to Natwest, customers can register their fingerprints for the biometric card from their own home, using a plastic sleeve to perform the registration process. When a customer uses the card, a green light on it will indicate that the fingerprint matches the one stored. The card can also be used for contactless, chip and pin and online payments.

Georgina Bulkeley, Director of Innovation, NatWest said:

“After the successful pilot of our biometric debit card we are looking to test the technology further with credit cards. 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.”

In terms of security, Natwest has said that once the fingerprint is registered with the card, it cannot be changed, and is not shared with the bank or merchant.

Howard Berg, Senior Vice president, UK Ireland and Switzerland of Gemalto, a Thales Company, said:

“Biometrics have a big role in the future of payments and we’re pleased that more NatWest customers will be the first to try out this simple, convenient and secure way to pay. Authenticating payments with a fingerprint isn’t just easy – it boosts security and opens the door to larger contactless payments. We’ll work very closely with NatWest as the trial progresses to address feedback from users and make sure they’re getting the best experience possible.”


Read more: Will biometrics drive up identity fraud? Half of British people think so.


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