Payment by your fingertip – the biometrics way

The search for a safe and easy payment system, for Card Present Transactions (CNP) has motivated a French supermarket chain to be part of a trial involving payments by scanning fingerprints instead of a PIN for credit cards payments.

The major players are Banks – Banque Accord, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, IT Firm – Natural Security, POS Giant – Ingenico and French retailers – Auchan, Leroy Merlin and certain associated retailers in Angoulême (close to Bordeaux, South West of France) and Villeneuve d’Ascq (close to Lille, North of France).

The sample size is 1500 and the testing period is 6 months. Both the variants of Biometrics i.e digital Fingerprint scanning (Bordeaux site) and finger vein patters (Lille site) are being tested. This is the first time that both the variants are being tested in parallel live situations.

The Biometrics are stored on the Credit Card and for authentication purpose, the communication happens between the contactless credit card and fingerprint reader, without passing through a centralized biometric database.

This UNIQUE feature thereby ensures the customer’s privacy and makes the system theft proof.

The process is as under:

01) Bank customers first visit a branch to register their biometrics data on to their credit card.

02)The payment card stores a payment application (EMV) as well as the biometric data used for authentication.

03)An individual charger in a case is provided to each customer, for their card. This facilitates communication between the plastic and the payments terminal.

04)Once the customers finish their shopping at the participating outlets, they can pay by placing their fingers on biometric readers. Care should be taken that the card is within one and a half meters of the terminal so it can be left in the user’s pocket or bag.

05)An exchange of data takes place between the credit card and the fingerprint reader as the customer places his hand on the scanner. No additional PIN is required, nor the Card be physically displayed.

06)The system also protects user privacy, as the data and applications used for authentication are stored on a personal device (eg smart card, SD card) and remain solely under the user’s control. This limits the risk of data misuse and theft


The system will continue to be tested for six months at the French supermarket before going public.

The new payment method combines a smart payment card, biometrics and mid-range contactless communication.

The solution is being deployed in stores, for real-life testing.  The objective of the trial is threefold:

01) To validate the various technical aspects of the project such as biometric Match-on-Card and mid-range contactless technologies

02)To gauge the reactions of consumers, retailers and banks

03)To evaluate support processes such as the data enrollment.


The trial will also aim to validate EMV transactions carried out by consumers, with cards issued by several banks.


Re-dissemination by Prashant N. Banker by daytime, Blogger by night.

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