NatWest expands biometric card pilot

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NatWest is expanding its test of cards that use biometric fingerprints to authorize transactions, citing expanded use cases for contactless payments in the U.K.

Following an earlier test of biometric fingerprint technology for about 200 debit card customers earlier this year, NatWest this week will add credit cards to the test with another 150 customers. NatWest is working with Mastercard and Gemalto on the pilots.
The cards enable customers to press their finger on the card, instead of entering a PIN, to authorize payments above the U.K.’s £30 (US$37) limit for contactless payments, removing friction for payments in various scenarios including in stores, online and at ATMs. Because users’ fingerprint data is stored on the card, no changes are required at payment terminals.

Participating NatWest customers may register their fingerprint on an eligible card anywhere using a plastic sleeve the bank provides. Once a fingerprint is registered to a card, it cannot be changed.

“After the successful pilot of our biometric debit card we are looking to test the technology further with credit cards,” said Georgina Bulkeley, NatWest’s director of innovation, in a release.

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