Bionym, RBC, Mastercard testing payments using biometric wristband

Bionym, the company behind the Nymi Band authentication wristband, is preparing to test heartbeat-authenticated payments in Canada before the end of the year.

The Nymi Band is a device that’s worn around the wrist like a watch or bracelet that can authenticate a person’s identity by analyzing their unique electrocardiography (ECG).

According to its announcement at payments and financial innovation conference Money2020, the Nymi Band will be accepted at existing point-of-sale systems at Canadian retailers for contactless transactions before the end of the year. The heartbeat data links individuals to a MasterCard account issued by the Royal Bank of Canada and some other issuing banks.

Bionym recently closed a US $14 million Series A round of funding, and has begun shipping its Nymi Band to the developer community for them to experiment with new applications for ECG data.

Heartbeat biometrics have been a major part of fitness devices and applications such as the BioSport In-Ear fitness headphones, and the more recently announced Microsoft Band. While payment authentication might not be the most obvious use for ECG data, it certainly has potential in a world seeking greater security around transactions.

“Payments is a great use-case for persistent identity, because making the experience seamless for consumers is just as important as providing the trust and security that only you can authorize a payment with your account,” Bionym president Andrew D’Souza said in a statement . “We are excited to work to bring the world’s first biometrically authenticated wearable payment solution to market.”

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