Bank of Cyprus has launched on a pilot basis the world’s first biometric payment card, part of a wider drive to digitise the bank’s services.
It is the first time that fingerprint authentication is used for payments, although the technology itself is already available for other applications such as with smartphones.
A tablet will take a copy of a customer’s fingerprint and activate their payment card with their biometric information. The cards work without batteries and will be powered by payment terminals.
The benefit is speed and convenience, as customers do not have to memorise their PIN.
Being unique to each person, fingerprints are regarded as a secure form of authentication.
The Bank of Cyprus cards are expected to become widely available in the second half of the year, depending on the results of the trial run.
The project is a partnership with Gemalto, the world’s largest card manufacturer, and the biometric technology firm Zwipe.
The use of biometric technology raises serious privacy concerns, particularly following the slew of data breaches at major firms like Facebook and Yahoo. Unlike a password, once stolen a fingerprint cannot be changed.