You are currently viewing Thumbs up, the biometric payment cards are here.

When contactless payment was introduced, it became a little nightmare for anyone who’d gotten their credit or debit card either stolen or who’d lost it. It was very easy for someone to only use the contactless option and buy things (under €50 in France) before the card holder had the time to block it. With the biometric payment cards this will no longer be an issue.

Since 2018 several banks across have been testing this new solution with a small range of users. It’s complicated to say which bank launched the system first, since many present themselves as the first one offering such type of cards even though it’s easy to find one that has done it before.  The year 2024 marks its widespread. Premium clients in countries like Japan, France, Turkey, Sweden, Norway and even Bangladesh can now own one of these.

What’s a biometric payment card and how does it work?

Let’s face it, it’s a regular card with one little detail a biometric sensor that “scans” your fingerprint. No more pin code to remember, your thumb is the key. Whenever you want to use it, you need to put your finger on the sensor to complete/validate the payment. If it doesn’t recognize your fingerprint, then the transaction is declined.

To make it function there’s a tiny battery inside of it.

To activate your card, you need to go to the bank office and register your fingerprint then you’re good to go.

Where can you get one?

If you live in France, for now only one banking establishment offers this type of cards:  BNP Paribas. You can live in the future for €24/year (€2/month). Careful, though you must choose a package in addition to the costs of the card, as the biometric card is only seen as an option.

Other banks like Société Générale have been working on their version of the card since 2018 but haven’t released one yet.

Pros and Cons of having a biometric payment card:

✔︎ If you lose your card or it gets stolen, no one will be able to use it.

✔︎ No need to remember a PIN code, your thumb is the key.

✔︎ Hygiene: in a world with sanitary crises like Covid, biometric cards allow less contact with payment terminals, preserving everyone’s health.  

✔︎ Improved age verification: with time they could be used to control age-restricted purchases like alcohol and tobacco with greater accuracy than physical ID that can be forged.

Cost: for now, they’re only available for premium clients, and it will probably stay like that as they’re more expensive to produce

Reliability: what if your finger is a bit dirty/sticky or if the sensors are a bit damaged? There might me authentication issues and transaction failures

Battery lifespan: if the battery runs out you no longer can use your card.

Data security: if the biometric data is hacked, it won’t be as easy to change it unlike a PIN. In terms of data privacy, another operator gets to access your personal data, so users need to be sure their card is GDPR-friendly.

         ©Nathan Dumlao on Unplash


Will you really use it?

Nowadays, an increased number of people use a digital wallet, a software allowing them to make transactions through their phone. All you need is to add your card there, and unlocking using biometric data (your eyes or thumb).  People now pay with their phone or even their watch. On the one hand, using a credit card even though it’s biometric, might appear like a huge step back. On the other hand, it also provides more security, if your phone gets stolen or hacked you don’t have to fear someone will use your payment card.



A propos de Venise CORNET

Inscrite à l'examen des cours complémentaires en droit luxembourgeois (CCDL) et étudiante en Master 2 en Droit de l'Économie numérique à l'Université de Strasbourg, je suis déterminée à mettre en œuvre mon expertise en droit numérique et propriété intellectuelle au sein d'équipes juridiques innovantes.

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