China UnionPay Gives ‘Letter of Approval’ for Biometric Payment Card

“This LOA is a critical step to driving mass adoption in China. IDEX and our partners are now approved for deployment in the world’s largest market for payment cards.” Vince Graziani, CEO, IDEX Biometrics 

IDEX Biometrics is celebrating another important step toward mass commercialization of biometric payment cards: the company says that a card featuring its fingerprint recognition technology has now received a “Letter of Approval” from China UnionPay.

As IDEX explains, the LOA from China’s financial services giant is a formal acknowledgement that a given product or service is compliant with all relevant requirements for interoperability with ATMs and Point of Sale devices. In other words, it’s a stamp of approval indicating that the biometric payment card is ready for commercial use and mass adoption.

Elaborating further in a statement announcing the certification, ABI Research Digital Security Research Director Phil Sealy said that the importance of the LOA “cannot be overstated.”

“Meeting stringent specifications and standards to ensure global interoperability is key in defining the growth trajectory of the biometric payment cards market,” he said. “This is a significant market milestone, not just in terms of application security and performance requirements, but the fact that certification and LOA must be met in order for the biometric card to move into the mass market issuance phase.”

The news comes about a month after IDEX’s announcement that China UnionPay had delivered an important certification for a biometric payment card solution featuring technology from both IDEX and Secure Element specialist Tongxin Microelectronics.

Now, the LOA represents another critical step forward, with IDEX CEO Vince Graziani emphasizing the enormity of the market to which it opens the door. “CUP is the largest payment network in the world, supporting more than half of all cards issued on the global brand networks,” he said, adding later, “IDEX and our partners are now approved for deployment in the world’s largest market for payment cards.”