Do you want to make a payment with a poke? A Secure Innovation in Your Pocket: Thales Biometric Payment Card

Thales has introduced the “world’s first” payment card with an integrated fingerprint sensor, promising higher security and convenience — as well as the elimination of contactless payment limits. The Thales Gemalto Biometric Sensor Payment card (BSPC) substitutes the standard PIN with an on-card fingerprint sensor and does not require any changes to existing point-of-sale (POS) payment terminals, according to the firm. Banks that sign up to use it, however, will have to set up a system for enrolling customers’ fingerprints in the secure section of the card. Thales claimed to have deployed the card with banks all around the world, claiming 30 months of live trials and 10,000 users in nine countries, including the UK. Thales links the technique to the relatively common usage of fingerprint biometrics on smartphones to replace PINs for device unlocking, app access, and payments in a promotional video. The advantages of biometric cards for payments exceeding the contactless limit and combating fraud in social benefit payments are discussed, with Thales pointing out that the cards are easy to use due to the size of the fingerprint sensor.

“After a trial of the Thales biometric payment card and its positive outcome, we have now opened the offer to all our customers with confidence,” says Jean-Marie Dragon, head of Payments and Cards for BNP Paribas, which recently launched its biometric payment card to commercial production”.

In terms of security, the biometric card means that without the owner’s fingerprint to validate a contactless transaction, a lost or stolen card is useless. There is no need to set a payment limit in such secure payment environments. Furthermore, when the cardholder’s fingerprint cannot be utilized – for example, for ATM cash withdrawals – a PIN number can be used as a fallback solution.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the Tech sector to develop touchless solutions and has indirectly resulted in higher transaction levels being processed without a second authentication factor,” explains Thales SVP of Banking and Payment Solutions Bertrand Knopf “the biometric payment card allows contactless payment for any amount while safeguarding the privacy of this very personal data.”

Thales’ EMV contactless biometric payment card is the industry’s only solution that has been completely validated by major EMV payment schemes such as MasterCard and Visa. The treatment has been sold in various countries following a series of successful trials around the wo