Gemalto contactless biometric payment cards piloted by Italian bank

Italy’s largest banking group Intesa Sanpaolo will pilot Mastercard biometric contactless payment cards supplied by Gemalto in the first European test of its kind for the payments company, according to the announcement.

Gemalto says the EMV cards are powered by the terminal, and enable customers to tap their cards at standard contactless POS terminals and authorize the transaction with a fingerprint. Adopting the cutting-edge cards to replace PIN or signature verification is part of the bank’s digital transformation strategy, and removes the limits previously placed on the value of contactless payments.

“We are proud to have undertaken the first step to introduce in Italy a card which technology offers the consumers clear and concrete benefits, following our choice to anticipate and facilitate the diffusion of innovative technologies functional to people’s everyday banking,” says Intesa Sanpaolo Retail Manager Cinzia Bruzzone. “The Intesa Sanpaolo – Mastercard pilot project, achieved with Mercury Payment System support, avails itself of Gemalto’s contribution as a global operator, who provided the technology behind the new biometric cards and the tools necessary for storing the fingerprint on the chip.”

The initial pilot is scheduled to operate in Turin, Milan, and Rome for 16 weeks.

“Consumers are quickly recognizing the combined power of contactless and biometric technologies to take the stress and strain out of secure transactions,” comments Bertrand Knopf, executive vice president of Banking and Payment for Gemalto.

French bank Societe Generale has also removed the amount limit on contactless transactions during its trial of IDEMIA biometric technology.

The European Commission recently approved the acquisition of Gemalto by Thales, drawing the transaction near to completion.

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