Banks to pilot biometric payment cards in India, Poland, Iraq, Mexico, Lebanon and Egypt

Zwipe Pay One biometric payment card  with payment device
PAY BY FINGERPRINT: Several banks are trialling Zwipe Pay One biometric payments technology

Banks in India, Poland, Iraq, Mexico, Lebanon and Egypt are among those set to trial biometric payment cards that enable customers to authenticate contactless payments with their fingerprints.

Bank Pocztowy in Poland began offering its corporate customers a biometric payment card in December with a view to expanding the pilot to other business account holders this year, while Indian payment services provider Easy Pay is to trial its biometric card before a commercial rollout later in 2022.

Iraq’s International Network for Cards and Digital Payment Services (INC) is also to trial a biometric-enabled version of its Neo Visa card as well as offer biometric payments cards to client banks in the Iraqi market, with card payment services providers ForzaCard in Mexico, Areeba in Lebanon and Masria Digital Payments in Egypt also announcing they are to make biometric cards available to their customers and client banks.

The trials in India, Iraq, Mexico, Lebanon and Egypt follow a series of deals signed by the service providers in these territories with Norway-based biometric card technology provider Zwipe.

Growing demand

“The biometric payment cards, built on the unique single silicon platform Zwipe Pay One, deliver world-class security and a completely touch-less user experience, leading to improved customer loyalty and a strong business case for banks,” Zwipe explains.

“Across many markets globally, and especially the Middle East and North Africa region, Zwipe has experienced a strong and growing demand in biometric payment cards from banks and payment service providers.”

In Poland, Bank Pocztowy’s biometric payment card uses technology developed by Thales and incorporates “a special fingerprint sensor designed to work better than mobile finger sensors,” Thales says.

“In order to realise the transaction, the cardholder needs to place their finger on a sensor. If the biometric data matches the one recorded previously, the light on the card turns green and the payment is processed.

“In case a fraudster wants to use the card, the cardholder assets are protected: the light on the card turns red and the fingerprint-based transaction is rejected.”

“In addition, the biometric card will never be discharged. It gets all the energy it needs from the point-of-sale terminals for each transaction and never relies on a battery,” Thales adds.

Consumer support

The pilots come as a survey reveals that nearly two-thirds of US credit card users (65.5%) would be willing to “pay for a safer biometric-secured credit card that has a built-in fingerprint reader for your protection”.

“This is based on the consumer’s desire to have a safer technology that aids in protecting against card fraud. For banks’ card customers the concern of card fraud goes well beyond the financial loss they may or may not experience,” says SmartMetric, the US-based biometric tech provider that commissioned the survey.

“Card customers find the whole experience of having their financial safety violated unpleasant. It is a logical as well as an emotional reaction by consumers.

“The sense of violation along with the general concern for their financial safety is the main driving force as to why the research is showing so many existing card customers are willing to pay for a biometric card.

“Based on this consumer research, the future numbers of credit and debit cards with built-in biometrics can easily be greater than 1bn cards. That is only a 10% adoption rate when the consumer research is showing more than 60% potential adoption rate.”

Credit Libanais in Lebanon, the Jordan Kuwait Bank, BBVA in Mexico, and Crédit Agricole and BNP Parisbas in France all announced that they were to begin issuing or piloting biometric payment cards during 2021, while China Construction Bank and the Postal Savings Bank of China both began trialling biometric ‘hard wallet’ cards as part of China’s large-scale testing of its central bank digital currency launched last year.

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