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NatWest launches the UK's 'first biometric fingerprint debit card'

Natasha Bernal
NatWest is kickstarting the UK's first pilot of fingerprint-scanning payment cards - NatWest

Hundreds  of NatWest customers will be able to approve payments over £30 with their fingerprints for the first time on Wednesday, in the first UK pilot of a biometric debit card.

The trial will allow 200 of the bank's customers to approve transactions over the contactless limit with the press of a button rather than a PIN number.

The bank has partnered with Visa and Dutch digital security company Gemalto to offer the service, which features a digital pad on the card that scans a user's finger. 

If the pilot is successful, the bank could roll out biometric cards to all of its customers, removing the need to remember PIN numbers altogether.

The bank has launched a similar service for business and commercial banking clients earlier this year, which allows them approve and set up payments online by using Apple's Face ID or Touch ID instead of a card reader.

The launch comes as banks race to respond to heightened security concerns over the current PIN system.

Researchers showed that there are 10,000 four number combinations, while fingerprints have a one in 50,000 chance of being replicated. 

However, concerns have been raised about the creation of "master fingerprints" by cyber criminals, as well as privacy concerns relating to customers' transactions being tied to their identity.