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.