NatWest has announced a new trial of a contactless card with a fingerprint reader built in.
The extra layer of security would remove the £30 spending cap that is currently in place for contactless payments. With a fingerprint in place, only the registered owner would be able to use the card for contactless payments, negating the security need for a cap.
“This is the biggest development in card technology in recent years and we are excited to trial the service,” said David Crawford, head of effortless payments (yes, that’s really his title) at NatWest.
The technology involved is the work of Gemalto, a Dutch company that has a similar trial ongoing in Italy with Intesa Sanpaolo. “Fingerprint authentication sweeps away limits on the value of contactless payments, removing the need to enter a pin or sign the receipt,” the company says.
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“As a result, it simplifies the consumer experience at the point of sale and makes it faster and safer.
“The fingerprint information is only stored on the card. It is never sent to the bank or collected by a third party. Inside the chip of the card, the fingerprint data is encrypted; nobody can access them.”
The first phase of the trial is limited to 200 customers, which will probably make it tricky to find a shop where the staff are aware of the new limit. If you’ve ever tried to pay over the limit using Google Pay or Apple Pay, you’ll know that despite the feature being technically supported via the fingerprint reader, plenty of retailers seem completely unaware.
There’s also the sticky issue of how customers will register their fingerprint for use with the card. For the purposes of the trial, users will have to come into their local branch to register their fingerprints, but NatWest says it’s working on ways for customers to capture their prints remotely.
Do you want your card to have a fingerprint reader, or are you happy with NFC phone payments? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.