In Brief

NatWest and RBS trial new fingerprint bank cards

Biometric payment system will allow customers to spend more than £30 using contactless cards

NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland have announced plans to trial new biometric bank cards that will allow cardholders to make larger contactless payments.

The bank cards will use fingerprint technology to verify transactions above the £30 contactless limit without the need for a PIN number.

The nationwide pilot project, the first of its kind in the UK, is due to begin in the coming weeks and will involve 200 NatWest and RBS customers.

The banks said the new cards would increase security and make paying at tills easier for customers.

“This is the biggest development in card technology in recent years and we are excited to trial the service,” said David Crawford, head of effortless payments at NatWest.

The biometric technology, which has already been trialled in Cyprus and Italy, was developed by the Dutch company, Gemalto.  

“Using a fingerprint rather than a PIN code to authorise transactions has many advantages, primarily enhanced security and greater convenience,” said Howard Berg, UK managing director of Gemalto.

“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,” he added.

If the pilot gets the go-ahead, “it will be the next step in the contactless spending revolution that has swept Britain since 2013,” says Patrick Collinson, The Guardian’s money editor.

Last year more than six billion payments were made using contactless technology, but the £30 limit is restricting further growth, particularly for people filling up their cars at petrol stations or doing a large weekly supermarket shop, he adds.

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