Could scanning your fingerprint every time you go to make a contactless payment finally be the convenience and security combo that we’ve all been waiting for? Right now, contactless payment technology continues to grow in popularity for the sliver of time that it saves at the checkout. But if you’re anything like us, the knowledge that anybody who gets their hands on your card has that same technology at their fingertips is a little bit concerning. That’s why we currently have £30 transaction limits – but it could all change if NatWest’s upcoming trial goes well.
What’s the story?
In April, NatWest are going to be trialling a new type of payment card that allows people to make payments using their fingerprint. 200 of the bank’s customers will take part in the initial trial – and NatWest are waiting to see how it goes before sharing any plans for developing the tech further.
How does it work?
The new debit cards will store information about the card owner’s fingerprint. In order to use the card, the customer will need to touch a specific section of the card with their finger and then swipe the card at the till.
A spokesperson for the bank, David Crawford, has said that:
“We are using the very latest technology across our business to make banking easier for our customers and biometric fingerprint cards are one of the many technologies we are exploring further.
“This is the biggest development in card technology in recent years and we are excited to trial the service.”
Why are they trying it?
It’s hoped that this new technology could bring several benefits. First and foremost, the added security when compared to contactless payments means that the current £30 limit could be lifted for fingerprint payments. In fact, this system could also be more secure than the traditional chip and pin method.
For some people, remembering a pin number can be challenging. This means that fingerprint payment cards could also be more accessible. Along similar lines, it could also make fingerprint payment technology available to people who don’t have access to a smartphone.
Will the personal data be kept secure?
The fact that the fingerprint information can be stored locally on the card, rather than in a central database, is seen as a vital part of keeping personal data secure. At present, customers will need to go into a branch to register their fingerprint. Although this is seen as something that reduces the convenience of the system, it also adds a layer of additional security.
So what do you think? Can you imagine a fingerprint scanner on your debit card making life more convenient? Whilst the amount of time it saves will be marginal, the rise in contactless certainly suggests that there’s a market for this kind of technology. And, while the added convenience of this type of gadget may only be slight, every little helps in our busy modern world! So although it may still be early days, it certainly seems like something that could catch on – and we’ll be watching keenly to see how it progresses.