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Idex accelerates biometric payment cards time to market

TrustSec works on crypto protection, Zwipe launches MENA pilot
Idex accelerates biometric payment cards time to market

Match-on-card biometric user verification for card payments seems to be going from strength to strength. Lebanon and Iraq are the latest markets to pilot payment cards with fingerprint sensors while Idex launches a turnkey solution to speed up development for its customers and a Visa exec explains what he expects from the new technology.

Off-the-peg biometric smart card solution now offered by Idex and partners

Idex Biometrics has partnered with jNet ThingX and Infineon Technologies to offer a ready-to-go biometric authentication software platform for smart card manufacturers.

The turnkey solution is intended to simplify manufacturing, accelerate the time-to-market for customers by six to nine months – and lower their costs. The solution also promises to make enrollment simple and secure.

The solution is described as an extension of jNet’s Javelin EMV COS based on Java Card, the world’s most common smart card format.

It is based on a reference design jointly developed by Idex and Infineon announced in July. The partnership led to a highly-differentiated reference design which offers low latency for fingerprint authentication which means transactions can be completed in 500 milliseconds without any biometric data leaving the card.

“This advanced software platform unlocks the differentiated performance of the Idex Biometrics – Infineon collaboration,” says Vince Graziani, chief executive of Idex Biometrics.

“As a Preferred Security Partner to Infineon, jNet ThingX has experience with multiple generations of Infineon security devices making them the perfect development partner for our new software offering. This turnkey solution enables customers to quickly deploy fingerprint payment cards with industry-leading performance.”

TrustSec partners with eSignus and CardLab for biometric HASHWallet

TrustSec, eSignus and CardLab have partnered to develop a biometric authentication solution for hardware wallets aimed at solving security issues around cryptocurrency and crypto-asset wallets.

The HASHWallet solution is the next step after the partnership between CardLab and eSignus that developed a biometric smart card solution. The grouping wants to apply this progress to hardware wallets.

TrustSec CEO Magdy Sharawy notes involvement from other firms: “We have been very happy to work with CardLab and eSignus on an innovative hardware wallet in the shape of a convenient smart card to safeguard crypto-assets.

“I would also like to pay tribute to Fingerprints in Sweden and Infineon Technologies in Germany, for their contributions and positive collaboration. We are looking forward to more collaborations that will shape the future of financial services digital transformation.”

Zwipe and Areeba pilot biometric payment cards in Lebanon, Iraq

Norway’s Zwipe and Lebanese payment company Areeba are piloting biometric payment cards in Lebanon and Iraq based on Zwipe Pay ONE in the next phase of their ongoing partnership.

Licensed by Visa and Mastercard, Areeba is one of the main issuing and acquiring processors in the region and has over half the market share in Lebanon. It has been working with Zwipe since 2018 and its outgoing COO Ramzi Saboury left to join Zwipe as general manager for MENA in April 2021 with the goal of introducing biometric products into the market.

The cards will be manufactured by Inkript, who have already been showcasing the products.

Director of Global Chip Product at Visa gives his take on biometric payments

In an interview with Zwipe, Tom Rapkoch, director of Global Chip Product at Visa talked about what is coming up for biometric payments. While the new system is only really for face-to-face transactions for now (except for some in-app purchases on smartphones), “biometric cards dovetail nicely with another major initiative that the entire industry is focused on currently – contactless payments. It’s a subtle thing but being able to tap your card on a terminal, holding it as you normally would hold it, but being able to use biometrics to authenticate the cardholder is a very attractive use case.”

Rapkoch sees countries where PIN is common for higher-value transactions as the places most suited to transitioning to biometrics to replace the PIN step.

“From the actual processing of the payment application, there isn’t anything new with biometrics. What is different is how those standards are met (i.e., on a card instead of a mobile device),” Rapkoch says.

“As for issuers, the reception has been one of heightened curiosity, but there have been challenges. Not with security – I think that everyone agrees that the security of biometrics is fairly established at this point. The challenges have been in the usability of the solution – leading to the development of home enrollment, efficiencies that reduce the time needed to match the fingerprint, etc.”

Globally, we are still in the early adopter stage for the technology, but costs will come down as user numbers rise, according to the Visa exec.

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