Biometric Fingerprint Debit Cards – The Future of Banking

Technology continues to make a significant impact on the financial world by evolving at a rapid pace. Initially, banks only required signatures to authorise a purchase but eventually began to use a chip and pin system in 2004 to reduce fraud. The chip and pin system required users to enter a four-digit PIN during each transaction. Eventually, contactless payment became available to the public in 2007 but only became widely popular in the UK by 2014. Contactless payment is highly convenient as it allows a user to tap a payment device by simply using a chip and an RFID antenna. However, many in the world of banking believe that biometric fingerprint debit cards are the next big thing to revolutionise the financial industry.

What is a Biometric Fingerprint Debit Card?

NatWest is a commercial bank that is working with Mastercard and Visa to develop a biometric fingerprint debit card with the help of Gemalto, a digital security company. A three-month test trial began earlier in the year that allowed 200 recipients to try out the new debit card with biometric properties. The cardholder places their finger on the card’s sensor during a transaction to verify their identity without requiring a PIN. Ultimately, this creates a much quicker process compared to entering your PIN or inserting a chip during the transaction process.

How Secure is a Biometric Fingerprint Debit Card?

Security is always the main concern with biometric technology. However, a biometric debit card stores your fingerprint data on the card itself without keeping any records on the bank’s servers. Your fingerprint data on the debit card is also protected with encryption as an added layer of security from any potential security threats.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Biometric Fingerprint Debit Card

The main benefit of using a biometric debit card is that it will significantly reduce fraud and is much more secure than entering a PIN. Customers will also not have to worry about the £30 limit restriction that happens with contactless payments. However, the main disadvantage of the biometric fingerprint card is that customers will have to take the extra time to visit their local bank to copy their fingerprint data.

How Will Fingerprint Payments Improve Retail Businesses?

One of the main ways these biometric cards will improve the retail industry is by making it much easier and faster to purchase items. Customers will not have to worry about swiping their credit card or entering a PIN. Instead, a customer only needs to place their finger on the card’s sensor to make a purchase. Ultimately, this will save time by creating a much more efficient system during the checkout process.

Other Examples of Biometric Technology

British Airways initially began using biometric facial technology in 2010 for domestic customers. In 2018 British Airways became the first airline to use facial scan technology for passengers to board flights to the United States. Biometric technology isn’t only limited to the airline industry, as HSBC used voice recognition technology in 2016 for clients to access their bank accounts. However, the security of an account was compromised by mistakenly allowing a twin to access his brother’s account. The security incident only serves to highlight that biometric technology isn’t error-proof.

When Can We Expect to See These Cards?

Biometric fingerprint debit cards are expected to be available in 2020 and will continue to become more accessible to the public as they gain in popularity. These biometric cards have an opportunity to transform the way everyone makes purchases by creating a simple and efficient system without jeopardising security. The rise of biometric technology will only continue to expand and make a significant impact on the daily lives of each individual.

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