Fingerprint on contactless card trial

(Neil) #1

Interesting, albeit limited, trial from NatWest to store fingerprints on cards to authorise larger contactless transactions.

Points raised are how the bank gets the fingerprint (going into branch is less than ideal) and how Apple Pay/Google Pay customers should already be able to do this, but vendor take-up is mixed.


Will I have to charge my credit card daily, too, in a few years time?


I’d settle on a card with an e-ink and in-app dynamic card CVV feature. Fingerprint instead of PIN is nice but most fraud is done online with compromised card details.

(sam) #4

I really don’t see what’s wrong with inserting your card for high value transactions?


That’s what I used to think. Until I started using Google pay.

The other day I went to B&Q and they don’t accept contactless. I was disproportionately annoyed: What a faff to get out the card, insert, PIN, wait, back into wallet. I had forgotten how complicated life was back in the stone age…

As such I’m a big fan of contactless. It’s just that I don’t see the point of this card. For me my physical card has use only as a backup nowadays: if either my phone batter has died, or the shop doesn’t take contactless. This card isn’t really gonna help with the 2nd, and I fear it won’t help with the 1st if its yet another device that needs charging…


Barclays Africa and Mastercard did a fingerprint card trial two years ago, nothing much came of that trial, so will be interesting to see the difference in this one.


I doubt very much if it would need charging. That would never be acceptable.

(sam) #8

Contactless is great for most transactions. This is just for spending above the limit. Just raise the limit to £50 and use pin above that

(Neil) #9

When I visited Australia a couple of years ago, the contacvtless (‘paywave’) was around 80 Aus dollars, but you could still use contactless witha PIN above that.

Not quite sure how that worked.


Yes, of course. But you can’t raise the limit indefinitely. I’d much rather keep the low limit, and enjoy the benefits of contactless with fingerprint verification.

That seems the best of both worlds: keep fraud risk low, while at the same time improving easy of use.


It’s not that uncommon in other countries. It verifies your pin with your bank (as opposed to verifying the pin with the card, as is common in the UK)

(Neil) #12

Thanks, @nanos

Interesting, given I understood that a lot of contactless transactions weren’t authorised ‘live’.


That’s no longer the case (at least in the UK): In the early days of contactless the device would indeed skip authorisation (which is why contactless used to be almost instant). Nowadays the authorisation is usually performed “live” for contactless transactions (you may notice that you usually need to wait a few seconds after tapping the card against the reader while the device communicates with the issuer.)

The reason why PIN+contactless is uncommon in the UK is because in the UK the PIN is usually verified locally with the card: The PIN is stored on the chip, and the PIN is verified before the terminal even communicates with the network. In a contactless transaction, however, you can’t do that, as the chip is unavailable.

In some countries, the PIN isn’t verified locally against the chip, but online against the bank. I believe most German cards for example don’t have the PIN stored on the card at all (at least that’s what the banks used to tell us). In that model you can do PIN+contactless again, as you have to communicate with the bank anyway for PIN verification.

(Neil) #14

Cheers @nanos - learning all the time :slight_smile:

(sam) #15

Contactless and Google pay are two different things. If you’re using contactless and need a fingerprint for a higher value you may as well insert the card your already holding.
I’ve never had Google pay not work because of a limit? Sometimes the cashier’s have said £30 max and I’ve just ignored them. (Politely)


But neither contactless nor Google Pay require you to “insert your card” which was the context.

(Neil) #17

I’ve had Google Pay turned down at Tesco for a £35 transaction. Didn’t bother arguing with the cashier as it’s either company policy or I’d have to wait a while for someone more senior to turn up.

On the other hand, I regularly use Google Pay for larger shops at Aldi :smiley:


It’s well known that Tesco doesn’t accept any form of contactless (card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, nor any other Pay) for over £30. I’ve heard that they have plans to change that, though (if they haven’t already?).

In many stores the cashiers are just misinformed and think that the various Something Pay variants only work up to £30. But in some stores (and Tesco is the best known of them) the terminal just won’t accept it - so need to argue as the cashier won’t be able to do anything about it…


They have always accepted over £30 but only if you use the Tesco pay+ App the same as Barclays with no Android pay. They have an in-house developed system.

(sam) #20

Wasn’t the context a card which requires an “on card fingerprint reader” to allow allow high value contactless?