Natwest is set to trial the new contactless card next month with 200 customers that will be able to make payments without having to enter a PIN or write their signature. Unlike standard contactless cards, this one won’t be limited to £30. The RFID bank card stores all the biometric data on the plastic itself.
The idea is to make it more secure as no information is being transferred to a bank’s database where it could be intercepted or digitally poached. An example of the fingerprint ID debit card (Natwest) It’s still not completely foolproof as there’s still the option of someone stealing the physical card and somehow faking your fingerprint. But it’s still more secure than typing in a four-digit PIN every time you want to use the thing.
Biometric payments are already in use through mobile phone apps like Apple Pay and Google Pay and they’ve actually been tested in bank cards before. Gemalto, the company behind Natwest’s new cards ran a previous test in South Africa in 2017 and again in Italy last year. New debit and credit cards can have built-in fingerprint readers.
Those taking part in Natwest’s scheme will still need to visit a branch in person to set up their fingerprint-scanning debit card. Which makes it a bit more cumbersome than mobile payments which can be set up at home. Howard Berg, UK managing director of Gemalto, said: ‘Using a fingerprint rather than a PIN code to authorise transactions has many advantages, primarily enhanced security and greater convenience.