British bank Natwest tests the use of a new NFC payment card with a built-in fingerprint scanner. The study, which will include 200 customers starting in mid-April, will allow participants to make NFC payments (called "contactless" in the UK) without having to enter a PIN or offer a signature. The standard £ 30 for contactless payments does not apply when the fingerprint is used.
Currently, anyone in the United Kingdom can pay contactlessly by tapping their card on the terminal to make a payment. As a result of this vulnerability, these payments are subject to a £ 30 limit at which retailers require you to insert your card into the card reader and enter a PIN for more expensive purchases (generally referred to as "Chip and PIN"). Method). Although authentication is required for mobile payments, customers often charge the same £ 30 limit.
The fingerprint data is stored locally on the card. This means that for a hacker, there is no security information that he can steal from a bank's central database. It's not foolproof – there's always the risk that a sufficiently determined thief steals and imitates your fingerprint – but it's a lot safer than a PIN that someone could learn if you just look over their shoulder when you step in. The default component of NFC Mobile payments are not allowed access to traditional bank cards, although credit card checks have been done since 2015. Gemalto, the company behind the card's biometric technology, conducted a test in South Africa in 2017 and a pilot project last year at Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo. However, for the cards, users usually need to visit a bank instead of doing it themselves from home (as with mobile pay services like Apple Pay or Google Pay).
Natwest's process does not solve this problem. Study participants must visit a branch of their bank. A video produced by Gemalto hopes that future versions of the system will allow customers to use their own finger to register their fingerprint.
This inconvenience and the need to carry a separate card raises the question of why biometric cards are required when the mobile payment feature is included in so many modern smartphones with fingerprint readers and facsimile scanners. However, as bank cards with a qualified bank account are provided free of charge, this system can be made available to people who can not afford a modern smartphone.