Bank of Cyprus to issue fingerprint payment cards

Bank of Cyprus to issue fingerprint payment cards

Bank of Cyprus is to issue a biometric EMV card which uses fingerprint recognition instead of a PIN code to authenticate the cardholder.

When customers place their fingerprint on the embedded sensor, a comparison is performed between the scanned fingerprint and the reference biometric data securely stored in the card.

The biometric sensor card, supplied by Gemalto, is powered by the payment terminal and does not require an embedded battery; it is also compatible with existing payment terminals already installed across the country, says the vendor. โ€‹

Bank of Cyprus' customers will be required to enroll for the cards at bank branches, where fingerprints will be captured and card activation completed using a purpose-built tablet device to avoid over-the-air transmission of personally-identifiable data.

Bertrand Knopf, Gemalto's executive vice president banking and payment says Bank of Cyprus will be the first in the world to implement the technology, which made its debut at Mobile World Congress 2016.

"Using biometrics for contactless payments is a natural move as it fits in naturally with the gesture used to pay," he adds. "It allows a better user experience, enabling higher transaction amounts without entering a PIN while benefiting from the convenience of contactless"

Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 January, 2018, 12:541 like 1 like

It would be interesting to know the cost of issuance - previously I have seen novel ideas to cater for the CNP/e-Commerce space but the cost per card was around the USD $20 mark which is a significant increase for most issuers.

Given that the prevailing trend to move into the digital/mobile space โ€“ and most of these higher end devices already have fingerprint or facial recognition built in โ€“ I wonder how much runway this idea may have.

An interesting concept and one I will keep an eye out for.

Craig Lawrance
Craig Lawrance - Starkspur Ltd - Chalfonts 04 January, 2018, 13:48Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I can see the attraction of this in markets where PINs are undesirable, lost or often forgotten; it removes the need for PIN mailers, but what's the cost in registering each customer's fingerprint?  OmniPayments has clients who use only a fingerprint at the card terminal to authenticate, with no card being necessary.  @MattScott is right in that the rapid advance in the digital/mobile space may restrict its ability to take off.

Paul Love
Paul Love - Konsentus - Nottingham 04 January, 2018, 14:39Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I was originally sceptical about this card, but I can now see the benefits.

The card supports high-value contactless transactions, with the same convenience of Android/Apple pay, but without a battery to keep charged, and at fraction of the cost.

It also provides a very convenient biometric authentication when used with existing POS devices with no added friction from an additional device, and even less friction than entering a PIN.

I can see that once manufacturing scales up and the cost comes down to a small multiple of standard EMV&PIN cards then there will be a much higher take up amongst issuers.

Issuing the card will pose some interesting challenges for the newer banks that have no physical branches.