Natwest trials biometric debit card

(Image credit: Natwest) (Image credit: Natwest)

NatWest has revealed it is trialing a new payment card with a built-in biometric scanner.

The UK high-street bank will start testing the new card with 200 customers from mid-April to see if the system can streamline the paying process whilst still providing effective security.

The card will allow users to make contactless payments over the current £30 limit without needing to enter a PIN or give a signature - instead a fingerprint scan will authorise the transaction.


The biometric data is stored within the card itself, meaning it should be more secure than if the bank had control - although there's still a potential risk that a duplicated fingerprint could trick it.

The trial, carried out in conjunction with card providers Visa and Mastercard as well as digital security firm Gemalto, will take place over three months, with Natwest's parent company RBS describing it as "the biggest development in card technology in recent years."

Contactless has rapidly become the most popular way to make payments in the UK in recent years, greatly speeding up how consumers pay.

Recent research from Worldpay found that contactless overtook chip & PIN payments last year, with around £38.5bn spent using contactless in the second half of 2018, with the volume of payments growing 30 per cent over the last year.

The report added that mobile contactless payments also saw a huge 122 percent growth over 2018 as consumers enjoy a more frictionless experience.

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.