Royal Bank of Scotland trials contactless fob for payments

The days of trying to remember your pin number when paying at busy tills could be on the way out.

The fob is no bigger than a standard key ring. Picture: contributed

Today sees the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) piloting an innovative payment method which only needs a customer’s fingerprint for security.

It is the first biometric fingerprint payment fob issued by a UK bank .

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It is also the first time payments up to £100 can be made without a bank card or mobile phone. The current limit is £30.

The fob is no bigger than a standard key ring and features a small fingerprint reader.

The customer puts their thumb over the fob and then holds the fob over the payment ‘reader.’

No hardware changes are needed to accept biometric fobs at the point of sale, so customers can use the fobs at existing contactless and chip and pin terminals.

When a customer presents a fob, a light indicates the fingerprint has been matched successfully.

Enrolment for the scheme takes around five minutes with customers able to register at home using their mobile phone.

If a fob is lost, it is not possible for someone else to use it for contactless transactions.

The fob can also be blocked by using the bank’s mobile app.

The three-month national trial involving 250 customers in Scotland and England follows successful debit and credit card biometric trials earlier in the year. David Crawford, head of Royal Bank Effortless Payments, said: “After the successful pilot of our biometric debit card we are looking at how we can further develop the technology and push the boundaries to integrate it into our customers’ everyday lives.”

The bank is working closely with Visa and Giesecke+Devrient Mobile Security to expand the service to its customers across the UK.

Jeni Mundy, managing director, UK and Ireland, Visa, said their research had shown that people were taking an interest in biometrics as a security measure.

“Following the launch of the UK’s first biometric debit card earlier this year, we are again pleased to collaborate with RBS on this pilot.

“Our research tells us that people have a strong interest in biometric technologies which can make their lives easier as well as increasing the security of their payments.

“At Visa we are constantly looking for ways to innovate with our partners to give consumers greater choices in how they pay.”

Axel Lange, managing director, Giesecke+Devrient Mobile Security GB Ltd, said: “With the changing requirements in payment authentication, G+D Mobile Security welcomes the opportunity to pilot different ways to pay and we see biometrics as a key enabler to do secure and yet convenient payments.”