RBS to trial biometric fingerprint tech to replace PIN verification

SHOPPERS will soon be able to pay for goods using their fingerprint thanks to a groundbreaking new trial of secure payment technology.

Monday, 11th March 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 11th March 2019, 12:22 pm
Biometric tech could see fingerprints replacing the traditional PIN system.

Instead of using a PIN number to confirm a transaction, a small band of Royal Bank of Scotland customers will be able to use their biometric information at the till.

The trial, which will involve 200 RBS customers from across the country, allows consumers to bypass the need for their four-digit PIN to verify transactions over £30.

Further details of the pilot scheme are to be released in the coming weeks, but if it proves successful, the technology couls be rolled out across the bank’s Scottish customer base.

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The bank said the payment method “increases security” while also offering customers an easier way to pay for goods and services.

A UK Finance report in June 2018 found that contactless card transactions overtook cash as the most popular form of payment in the UK for the first time, with consumers making more than 13.2 billion card payments.

However, analysis from Which? revealed a side-effect of the move to digital payments after finding that UK cash machines were closing at a rate of 300 every month.

Nearly 1,500 Link machines ceased operation between November 2017 and April 2018, putting those hoping to access physical money at risk.

David Crawford, head of effortless payments at RBS said: “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.”

He added: “This is the biggest development in card technology in recent years and we are excited to trial the service.”

Customers will still enter their card in reader as normal, but rather than entering their PIN number, will simply press a finger down on the corner of their card which stores biometric information used to complete the payment.

The technology works in a similar way to fingerprint scanners on mobile devices including iPhones.

It also offers limitless payment capabilities compared to the £30 limit places on contactless card payments.

Companies including both Mastercard and Visa have already run trials of the technology in Bulgaria, Cyprus and South Africa, producing tens of thousands of cards for testing purposes.

Dutch digital security firm Gemalto has been charged with bringing the service to customers in Scotland having already collaborated with Intesa Sanpaolo to rollout biometric payment cards to customers in Italy.

Howard Berg, UK managing director of Gemalto assured customers the technology offered greater security than current PIN-based transaction.

He said: “Using a fingerprint rather than a PIN code to authorise transactions has many advantages, primarily enhanced security and greater convenience.”

Mr Berg added: “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.”