First European bank pilots biometric contactless payment card

Intesa Sanpaolo turns to Gemalto for Italy’s first biometric contactless payment card pilot

Large Italian bank pilots biometric contactless payment card. Source:

Digital security company Gemalto is supplying Intesa Sanpaolo, the number one banking group in Italy, with the first Mastercard biometric contactless payment card.

The pilot promoted by Intesa Sanpaolo and Mastercard allows testing an EMV contactless biometric card for the first time in Europe. Consumers may tap their card to any POS terminal to pay and authorize the transaction with their fingerprint, combining a fast and convenient user experience to an advanced cardholder authentication approach.  In addition, the card works without a battery as it’s powered by the terminal which means that there is no limit on the number of transactions.

Intesa Sanpaolo’s initiative is the latest step forward in the bank’s ambitious digital transformation strategy. Fingerprint authentication sweeps away limits on the value of contactless payments, removing the need to enter a PIN or sign the receipt. As a result, it simplifies the consumer experience at the point of sale and makes it faster and safer.

The card works with existing EMV card terminal infrastructure. For issuers, the technology helps detect and prevent fraud, increase approval rates, reduce operational costs and foster customer loyalty.

Gemalto’s solution includes secure on-the-spot fingerprint enrollment at selected locations and in the future customers could even enroll for the service at home. To ensure the right to privacy, biometric data is stored on the card itself, not the bank’s servers. Protection is further enhanced by the fact that personal data is encrypted and never leaves the card.

Intesa Sanpaolo’s initial pilot will run in Turin, Milan and Rome and is scheduled to last 16 weeks. The banking group has 11.9 million customers and 4,400 branches in Italy.

SEE ALSO: Schemes & types of banking card fraud to watch out for

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