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This debit card comes with a built-in fingerprint sensor for contactless payments

Published Mar 11th, 2019 7:06PM EDT
NatWest Debit Card
Image: NatWest

Contactless payments aren’t new, as we already have mobile payments that involve our smartphones or an actual debit or credit card. But when it comes to cards, you still need to authenticate payments over a certain amount, and the only way to do that is with the use of a PIN code. However, some banks are ready to test a new kind of debit card — one that comes with a fingerprint sensor built into it.

NatWest is going to trial the concept in Great Britain, issuing 200 customers the new high-tech cards. The cards still use NFC technology for payments, like regular ones, but there’s no payment limit, The Verge explains.

Regular contactless cards have a limit of £30 in the region, which means that any purchase that’s more expensive than that will need a PIN verification. But a built-in fingerprint sensor would fix all of that, as the user would be able to instantly authenticate the payment, just as they can on a mobile phone.

The one downside of the process is that you still need to go to the bank to set up your card. You can’t do it at home with the help of a smartphone. However, the bank doesn’t hold your fingerprint data. Everything is stored on the card, and hackers wouldn’t be able to extract your fingerprint data from a bank’s database. However, they could always try to spoof your fingerprint to use the card, if they get their hands on it.

NatWest is working with Gemalto, CNBC explains, as well as Visa and Mastercard for the pilot program. The following video briefly explains the new credit card technology:

Chris Smith
Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.