NatWest Launches Fingerprint Scanning Debit Card Trial in UK

Image Source: NatWest

NatWest – a bank located in the UK – is making debit card payment safer and simpler through use of a fingerprint scanner on their new NFC payment cards. The trial run allows 200 customers to begin utilizing the cards in order to make “contactless” payments, in which no signature or pin is required – just a tap on the card reading terminal.

While consumers in the UK can already make purchases using this method (with a £30 minimum), expensive purchases still require one to input their PIN after the card has been inserted into the card reading machine.

What makes the card safe to use is how user information is not stored within a bank database that could potentially be breached. Rather, the biometric data from one’s fingerprint is kept on the card itself which acts as a better defense against thieves potentially stealing financial assets through PIN access.

In order to activate the card, customers must visit a NatWest branch. NatWest’s new cards use Gemalto’s biometric technology that has been tested in the past in both 2017 and 2018. Such trials done in the past year also required customers to activate the card through visiting their local bank – a process that can slow down use of the card when consumers can’t activate it from the comfort of their home. In the future, Gemalto hopes to make this process easier.

With the implementation of Apple Pay or Google Pay and Face ID to make purchases, it seems redundant that fingerprint scanning cards are made available for use. However, with this technology, consumers without modern smartphones can engage in making quicker and safer purchases as well.

Predictability of Your PIN Code

Taking advantage of holiday sales might mean more trips to the bank and frequent use of your debit card. Unfortunately, the more you use your bank card the higher your risk of vulnerability to fraud and identity theft. Have you ever wondered how easy it might be for someone to crack your PIN code? Database analysts at DataGenetics broke down the trends in passwords from previously released tables and security breaches.

The most common four digit password was”1234″ which accounted for 10.7% of all passwords analyzed. Not surprisingly, the second and third most common passwords were “1111” and “0000”. Think those are too easy to guess? If you use numbers like your birth date, zip code, or street number, your code can easily be guessed if your wallet is lost or stolen along with your debit card and ID. It would be safer to use a relative’s birth date or a number unrelated to your personal information.

The 20 most commonly used password codes are fairly predictable.

The most uncommon codes from the data set were “8068” and “8093”. But we suggest a safer strategy for keeping your money protected- keep your debit card secured at home when it’s not needed and use credit cards during busy shopping seasons instead.This way any fraud using your identity can be disputed, leaving your hard earned cash safe and untouched. Fraud of any kind is a hassle and can be a danger to your finances, but it is much easier to dispute a charge on credit than decreased cash in your account when bills need to be paid. So enjoy the after-Christmas sales, and remember to practice safer shopping!