NatWest to pilot the UK’s first biometric payment fob

04 Dec 2019 The first biometric fingerprint payment fob issued by a UK bank begins a three-month national trial today (4 December 2019). NatWest is piloting the cutting-edge, biometric fingerprint technology with 250 customers.

The bank has previously piloted biometric cards, but this will be the first-time payments have been made possible over £30 without a bank card or mobile phone.

The biometric fobs will offer contactless payments using fingerprint verification for transactions up to £100, an increase on the current £30 limit. The fob is no bigger than a standard keyring and features a small fingerprint reader.

No hardware changes are needed to accept biometric fobs at the point of sale, so customers can use the fobs at existing contactless and Chip and PIN terminals. When a customer presents a fob, a light indicates that the fingerprint has been matched successfully.

Enrolment is simple and takes as little as five minutes. A customer registers the fob in the comfort of their own home using their mobile phone. If a fob was lost, it would not be possible for someone else to use it for contactless transactions and for extra piece of mind the fob can be blocked using the mobile app. Biometric data is never shared with the merchant or the bank and is encrypted on the device.

David Crawford, Head of NatWest Effortless Payments, said: “After the successful pilot of our biometric debit card we are looking at how we can further develop the technology and push the boundaries to integrate it into our customers everyday lives.”

NatWest is working closely with Visa and Giesecke+Devrient Mobile Security to bring the service to customers in the UK.

Jeni Mundy, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, Visa, said: “Following the launch of the UK’s first biometric debit card earlier this year, we are again pleased to collaborate with NatWest on this pilot. Our research tells us that people have a strong interest in biometric technologies which can make their lives easier as well as increasing the security of their payments. At Visa we are constantly looking for ways to innovate with our partners to give consumers greater choices in how they pay.”

Axel Lange, Managing Director Giesecke+Devrient Mobile Security GB Ltd, said: “With the changing requirements in payment Authentication, G+D Mobile Security welcomes the opportunity to pilot different ways to pay and we see biometrics as a key enabler to do secure and yet convenient payments.”

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