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NatWest is testing biometric bank cards that use fingerprints to pay

A NatWest bank in Spinningfield, Manchester. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images

NatWest will begin trialling biometric bank cards that allow customers to verify their identity via fingerprint, the bank has announced.

The bank will pilot its new “cutting-edge” technology with 200 customers in the coming weeks as part of a national trial. Customers will be able to use their fingerprint to verify transactions over £30, according to NatWest. The bank said it hopes the new cards will increase security and make paying at tills easier for customers, as no PIN number will be required.

“We are using the very latest technology across our business to make banking easier for our customers, and biometric fingerprint cards are one of the many technologies we are exploring further. This is the biggest development in card technology in recent years and we are excited to trial the service,” David Crawford, head of Effortless Payments at NatWest, said.

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NatWest said it is working closely with digital security company Gemalto, along with Visa and Mastercard, to bring the service to customers in the UK.

“Using a fingerprint rather than a PIN code to authorise transactions has many advantages, primarily enhanced security and greater convenience. Cardholders can pay quickly and easily with just a simple touch, and they no longer need to worry about the limit on contactless payment transactions,” Howard Berg, UK managing director for Gemalto, said.

More details on the pilot are set to be released soon.

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In June 2018, it was reported that fingerprint sensor developer IDEX Biometrics had been working with Mastercard to develop a system to produce biometric bank cards. Stan Swearingen, chief executive of IDEX, claimed at the time that multiple banks were set to roll out up to 100,000 of the cards in 2019, but this has not yet materialised.