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Gemalto fingerprint cards trialed in UK as biometrics for banking deployments continue worldwide


UK bank NatWest has begun a three-month trial of biometric fingerprint credit cards from Mastercard and Gemalto with 150 customers, in what the bank says is the first trial of its kind in the UK, following a successful trial of debit cards earlier this year.

“After the successful pilot of our biometric debit card we are looking to test the technology further with credit cards. This is the biggest development in card technology in recent years and not having to enter a PIN not only increases security but makes it easier for our customers when paying for goods or services,” states NatWest Director of Innovation Georgina Bulkeley.

The addition of biometrics raises the contactless payment amount limit from £30 to £100, with convenient fingerprint authentication. Home enrolment takes as little as five minutes, according to the announcement, and during transactions a green light on the card indicates a successful match.

“Feeling confident that your information is protected is paramount. We, along with our partners, are building biometric cards that recognize an individual rather than a password or PIN,” comments Mastercard Executive Vice President, Identity Solutions, Bob Reany. “Biometrics are more secure, more trusted and better suited to a world that requires more frequent authentication.”

“Biometric have a big role in the future of payments and we’re pleased that more NatWest customers will be the first to try out this simple, convenient and secure way to pay,” says Howard Berg, senior vice president for UK, Ireland and Switzerland of Gemalto, a Thales Company. “Authenticating payments with a fingerprint isn’t just easy – it boosts security and opens up the door to larger contactless payments. We’ll work very closely with NatWest as the trial progresses to address feedback from users and make sure they’re getting the best experience possible.”

Fingerprint Cards surveys consumers and banks

Three out of four bank representatives say fingerprint biometrics offer the security method which is most user-friendly and “slickest,” with the best UX, according to a new survey from Fingerprint Cards.

In a blog post by Fingerprint Cards SVP Thomas Rex, it is revealed that 56 percent of banks plan to offer biometric smart cards as a paid service for high-value customers to differentiate themselves while increasing payments revenue. All banks say they are aware of the technology, but only 24 percent are fully informed, according to the survey. Payment caps are seen as the main limitation to contactless cards by 79 percent of banks.

Security is the main concern for contactless payments among consumers, though only 57 percent of banks feel the same way. The post also refers to a recent report from Gemalto, a Thales company, that 86 percent of consumers see biometrics as more secure than Chip and PIN methods.

Rex also notes that biometrics cards harmonize user experiences across mobile, online, and in-store channels.

“What happens next is in banks’ hands,” he concludes.

Socure demonstrates latest ID platform

The latest ID+ platform v3.0 is being demonstrated by Socure at industry conference BankAI in Chicago.

Socure Vice President of Product Erick Soto is demonstrating the easy integration of ID+ into existing on-boarding or ID verification processes as the basis of a KYC process or CIP (customer identification program), according to the announcement.

“Using our unique predictive analytics platform, we apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to both trusted online and offline sources of data to enable real-time identity authentication,” says Soto. “Our platform has helped customers reduce their fraud by 85 percent, saving more than $50 million in financial losses. We are looking forward to demonstrating how our platform works to all attendees at BankAI.”

Thailand biometric account opening pushed back one quarter

The central Bank of Thailand (BoT) has announced that ten commercial banks and non-bank financial institutions are testing biometric eKYC technology in its regulatory sandbox, ahead of the launch of biometric account-opening, which had been anticipated in Q3.

Xinhua reports that minor technical glitches have prevented participants from exiting the test.

“Hopefully, the BoT anticipates that participants will finish the biometric test run before the end of fourth quarter,” says BoT Assistant Governor for Payment Systems Policy and Financial Technology Siritida Panomwan. “The BoT still needs to roll out policies, regulations and criteria to ensure a smooth and problem-free operation before e-kyc goes into effect. During phase 1 we will be focusing on using biometric technology to verify a customer’s identity when opening a savings account. If the implementation is successful, banks and other financial institutions can adapt the technology to other aspects of their services without having to seek for BoT’s permission to enter the sandbox project again.”

Siritida also said that many financial institutions have already applied for e-payment and e-money business licenses.

Palm authentication at Korean ATMs

KB Kookmin Bank of South Korea has made biometric palm vein authentication available at all its ATMs in the country as part of its digital transformation effort, Pulse reports.

Palm biometrics were launched to 50 branches in April to replace ID cards and passcodes, and during a six-month pilot, around 50,000 customers used the technology at 284 outlets, making 32,000 deposits and 19,000 withdrawals at ATMs, the bank says. The service will now include foreign currency deposits, fund and trust services, including the issuance of various types of certificates, following positive customer reviews. Previously, it was only available for a few services, including transfers and contract cancellation.

Biometric verification became possible for bank services after the Financial Services Commission (FSC) revised its customer verification law.

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