Biometric payment card pilot underway in Middle East

Biometric payment card pilot underway in Middle East
The biometric payment card will use fingerprint scanning instead of PIN authentication.
Published: 16 April 2018 - 9:15 a.m.
By: Mark Sutton

A trial of payment cards which use fingerprint authentication instead of PINs has been launched for the Middle East.

The dual interface biometric payment card - which is chip-and-contactless payment enabled - is being trialled in the region to test the use of fingerprint recognition as a more convenient and secure alternative to PIN or signature to authenticate the cardholder during a transaction.

The card is being tested by a group of companies including Visa, Gemalto, biometric technology company Zwipe and financial and payment technology company Areeba, with support from Unilux Cards.

Commenting on the agreement, Maher Mikati, CEO of areeba, said: "areeba is committed to investing in new capabilities that deliver better & more secure payment solutions; using fingerprint technology to authenticate a person for payments will provide cardholders a faster, easier and more secure payment process compared to the traditional use of PINs.  We are proud to partner with Visa, Gemalto and Zwipe to run this pilot program in the Middle East and make this innovative product available for financial institutions who are keen to integrate biometric technology into their payment cards to enhance convenience and reduce fraud."

Nathan Cushnie, Visa's Head of Digital Solutions for MENA, commented: "Just last month, we released findings from our survey of UAE consumer attitudes towards biometrics which revealed that 98 per cent of consumers surveyed in the UAE are keen to use biometrics such as fingerprint recognition for payments. The pace of digital transformation in the region is opening up new opportunities for innovation, and our partnership with areeba marks another milestone in our commitment to introducing secure and convenient technology that more and more consumers across the region want."

Commenting on this newest partnership, André Løvestam, CEO of Zwipe said: "We are proud to partner with leading financial and payment technology companies like areeba who share our first mover vision when it comes to making payments more secure and convenient." He adds: "We have seen a major surge in interest for our market leading battery-less dual interface biometric payment technology especially in the Middle East and we are confident that millions of consumers will be using their fingerprints and Zwipe technology to securely authenticate themselves and conveniently complete transactions going forward."


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