A new technology tested in Great Britain could radically change the way we use our credit cards. It could even mean the end of the PIN code.
The British bank NatWest is testing a new payment technology, a card with a built-in fingerprint scanner. Instead of using the PIN, this new system will allow users to use the fingerprint when making payments. The research will start in April and will include two hundred of the NatWest Bank customers.
Contactless payments are very popular. However, they also come with certain limits. In the UK, in the case of payments of more than 30 pounds, users must enter the PIN. Once the technology that uses fingerprint sensors will be implemented, these limits will not apply to contactless payments.
Exactly like in the case of contactless payments, you won’t need to enter the debit card in the POS. The only identity check will consist in placing your finger on the fingerprint sensors, embedded directly on the card surface.
The digital fingerprint will be stored directly on the card, which means that the “bad guys” won’t be able to steal the information from the central database of the bank. Though, it’s a fact that the system is not entirely safe: a good enough hacker can find a way to steal your fingerprint. However, it’s much safer than a PIN code, which can be easily noticed by those behind you at the ATM.
On this project, NatWest is working with VISA, MasterCard, but also with Gemalto, a digital security company. “Using a fingerprint instead of a PIN to authorize transactions has many advantages, especially increased security and greater convenience. Cardholders can quickly and easily pay with just a touch and no longer have to worry about the limits of contactless payments”, director of Gemalto, Howard Berg said. Some predictions have been made and specialists say that in 2023, biometrics payment will be used by 2,3 billion people.
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