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First biometric card issued by a UK bank enters circulation today


The first biometric fingerprint card issued by a UK bank entered circulation today as part of a three month NatWest biometric payment cards trial. The card is provided by Gemalto and uses Fingerprint Cards’ T-shape sensor module and newly-announced software platform for payments.

The trial has 200 customers using their fingerprint to verify transactions over the £30 contactless limit. 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. The fully integrated card can be used as normal in ATMs, the post office and for digital banking. They work with existing contactless and chip and pin terminals.

A user’s fingerprint can be registered onto the biometric card in their own home or at a branch. Once a fingerprint is locked onto a card it cannot be changed. The fingerprint is only held on the card and each transaction is verified using data encrypted and stored locally on the card.

“We are using the very latest technology across our business to make banking easier for our customers and biometric fingerprint cards are one of the many technologies we are exploring further,” explained David Crawford, Head of Payments NatWest. “This is the biggest development in card technology in recent years and it’s great to finally see the cards in the hands of our customers.”

“We are thrilled to be the first in the UK to bring this exciting payment innovation to UK consumers,” added Howard Berg, SVP UK Ireland and Switzerland of Gemalto, a Thales Company. “Biometric authentication and identification is set to transform financial services and we’re proud to be leading the way in this field alongside our partners.”

Gemalto Director of Biometrics Fred Martinez recently spoke with Biometric Update about some of the issues to address in bringing biometric cards to the mass market.

Updated 2019-04-25 at 2:30 PM to mention Fingerprint Cards’ involvement.

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