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National Bank of Kuwait and Mastercard launch payments with selfies and fingerprint-enabled cards


The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) and Mastercard have announced the launch of Identity Check and a pilot of a credit card with an embedded fingerprint sensor in the country to improve online and in-store shopping experiences.

The payment cards work with existing EMV card terminals, and a European trial of the technology was completed last August.

The biometric payment card is the first in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, while NKB’s deployment of Identity Check is the first in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, according to the announcement. Mastercard Identity Check for NBK will soon be available from the Apple App Store and Google Play, enabling consumers to use fingerprint or face biometrics to bank or shop online without entering a password.

“Our long-standing partnership with MasterCard enables us today to introduce the most advanced and first of its kind service in the Middle East, allowing customers to use the Selfie Pay service as well as biometric cards,” said Isam Al-Sager, NBK’s Group Chief Executive Officer. “These new services come in line with NBK’s endeavors to offer the latest technologies in the banking sector as demand for easier and safer banking services continue to increase.”

NBK also introduced several other new features for its online banking service and mobile app.

“Our joint research with the University of Oxford has proven that 93 percent of consumers prefer using biometrics to remembering passwords,” notes Khalid Elgibali, Division President, MENA, Mastercard. “These next-generation authentication solutions are no longer based on what you remember, but who you are – a fundamental difference that brings new levels of convenience to consumers, while further enhancing security. The development of these innovative solutions marks an important step in our ongoing quest to fulfill the needs of consumers and drive change across the region’s constantly evolving payments ecosystem.”

Mastercard Executive Vice President of Identity Solutions Product Bob Reany told Biometric Update in December that biometric payment cards are about to take off, and may reach developed economies in the West in 2019.

A new remote enrollment technology developed in partnership with IDEX was recently unveiled by Mastercard.

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