France's national interbank network, Groupement des Cartes Bancaires CB, is evaluating the use of biometry in payment transactions and is expected to approve a new authentication standard based on fingeprints before the end of the year
CB is one of the largest card payment schemes in the European Union with 61.7 million cards, 58,624 ATMs, 1.3 million CB merchants and a network comprising 10 billion card transactions with a turnover of EUR524 billion in 2013.
The association is working with the Natural Security Alliance tech coalition to define a chip-based biometric application embedded into a keyfob initially. Integration of the chip into the micro-SD card of a mobile phone is also being studied.
In both instances, the user's biometric data is not stored in a centralised database, but remains in the chip integrated into the key ring or telephone.
Gilbert Arira, CB chief executive, emphasises that the technology must first prove its robustness, security and interoperability.
"It is on these points that we are working with the Natural Security Alliance," he says. "The project is advancing rapidly and the first payment solutions integrating biometry are expected to receive approval by the end of the year".