“BNP Paribas’s biometric payment card was developed by Thales, which obtained Visa certification for its solution last summer.”
The first sign of a major, country-wide, mainstream rollout of biometric payment cards has emerged from France’s BNP Paribas, and it has a hefty price tag attached.
According to a new report, French consumers will be able to sign up for a biometric Visa credit card for €158 per year.
It’s not as bad as it sounds. Having already trialed the technology, BNP Paribas is initially going to offer its biometric payment cards exclusively through its Visa Premier card offering, which already carries a hefty annual fee of €134. Selecting the biometric version of the Visa Premier card will add €24 to the cost, compared to a €12 surcharge for a version of the card that featured an extra digital code-based security mechanism.
BNP Paribas’s biometric payment card was developed by Thales, which obtained Visa certification for its solution last summer. The bank reportedly piloted the solution in the autumn of 2020, and will offer its biometric Visa cards through select branches in the first half of 2021. The latter half of the year will see the offering extended across all BNP Paribas branches in France.
The news validates the expectation, held by many in the biometrics and payments sectors, that biometric payment cards will see large-scale commercial launches in 2021, after years of behind-the-scenes development. What’s more, some expect heightened demand from consumers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made many consumers wary of shared surfaces such as POS PIN-pads, and more enthusiastic about contactless payment solutions.
Contactless payment cards are already widely available, of course, but the addition of biometric security should help to encourage more consumers to embrace them – especially if further rollouts reduce the fees associated with the heightened security.