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Visa announces pilot for biometric payment cards


Visa has announced pilot projects for a new EMV dual-interface biometric payment card with chip and contactless transaction capabilities in partnership with Mountain America Credit Union and Bank of Cyprus.

The payment cards in both pilots have embedded sensors from Fingerprint Cards’ FPC1300-series. Biometric technology supplied by Gemalto is used in the Bank of Cyprus pilot, while the Mountain America Credit Union pilot utilizes Precise Biometrics’ Precise BioMatch Embedded algorithm solution, as well as technology provided by Kona-I.

“I am pleased that we are part of the first US market trials for biometric dual-interface payment cards from a global provider of payments solutions. The interest in biometric payment cards is high and Precise Biometrics is at the forefront of this area”, notes Torgny Hellström, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Precise Biometrics.

Zwipe announced earlier this month that it would collaborate with Gemalto to provide its energy harvesting capacity and biometric engine for the Bank of Cyprus pilot, while both Precise Biometrics and Kona-I have previously established partnerships with Fingerprint Cards.

“Collaboration is key in the smartcard and payments ecosystem. We are proud to be part of these first-of-its-kind market trials with Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments. This signifies that we are entering the next phase in the execution of our strategy for dual-interface biometric payment cards,” says Fingerprint Cards SVP, Business Line Smartcards, Thomas Rex.

The pilot was announced at the National Retail Federation’s NRF Big Show 2018, and will be managed by the Visa Ready for Biometrics program, which the company says is a new vertical to support the growing demand for biometric authentication.

“The world is quickly moving toward a future that will be free of passwords, as consumers realize how biometric technologies can make their lives easier,” explains Jack Forestell, head of global merchant solutions, Visa Inc. “As electronic payments expand dramatically around the world, Visa is committed to developing and investing in emerging capabilities that deliver a better, more secure payment experience.”

The card authenticates users with by matching a fingerprint taken at the point of sale to an enrolled template securely stored on the card. It is equipped with green and red lights to indicate the success or failure of the authentication, and is compatible with existing chip or contactless payment terminals.

Pilots with both Mountain America Credit Union and Bank of Cyprus will begin in early 2018.

A recent Visa survey found that 86 percent of American consumers are interested in biometric authentication, and 70 percent believe biometrics are easier to use than passwords.

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