The future of cards, contactless and biometrics in payments
It’s an interesting time for the humble payment card. Card payments have steadily risen in the last two decades, but innovation for the card has slowed since the launch of contactless more than 10 years ago. Until, that is, the recent entrance of the biometric payment card.
But what’s the value in updating the card further? Contactless cards have gained real traction in the last decade, especially in Europe. But with many markets across the globe still to take the leap to contactless, and others already looking beyond the card to mobile payments, how can we expect the card to continue to be a success?
Two major things concern consumers about contactless cards: security and convenience. For those already happy ‘tapping’ with contactless payment cards, the transaction cap is cited as a major point of confusion and frustration.
Global limits for contactless card transactions differ per country and remembering when you can and can’t tap can be annoying.
But of course, the higher the cap you have, the bigger the security concerns. This is where biometric payment cards come in. The beauty of biometrics is that it is one of the few security measures that doesn’t harm convenience: a winning combination of the frictionless contactless card UX with the trust of biometrics.
From current trial announcements, it’s evident that removing the payment cap is a major priority for banks, too. Take the announcement last October by Société Générale in France and the announcement in March by NatWest in the U.K. — both are using the pilots to trial saying goodbye to contactless transaction limits.
Taking the leap
While contactless card adoption has been a huge success in Europe, it’s staggered somewhat in regions still conducting their EMV migration, such as Latin America and the Middle East. That’s all about to change, however.
Banks that have yet to incorporate contactless into their portfolio can now skip past the teething problems of traditional contactless cards and jump straight to delivering more secure and convenient biometric contactless cards. Plus, once retailers have made the initial contactless upgrade to their terminal infrastructure, no additional investment will be needed to accept these cards.
With big players such as Mastercard and Visa now mandating that all new cards and payment terminals issued must be contactless-enabled, global growth of the technology is set to soar in the next few years. This sets the perfect stage for biometric payment cards to thrive internationally.
Keeping contactless cool
Added security may be the most obvious reason to upgrade contactless cards with biometrics, but let’s not forget the ‘cool’ factor.
As banks try to keep pace with innovative fintechs, biometric payment cards can offer their customers a more seamless user experience, greater choice and an exciting new form factor many will be keen to get their hands on.
The future of biometrics in payments extends far beyond just biometric payment cards, however. Offering the answer to the age-old digital finance conundrum of delivering security and convenience to consumers, biometrics will continue to increase its stake in the world of payments innovation in coming years.
From contactless cards to wearables, USB dongles and beyond — the possibilities are exciting and endless.
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