Fingerprint Cards is arguing that France will serve as a bellwether for biometric payment cards. The company noted that France has long been at the forefront of the payments industry, and was one of the first countries to introduce contactless a decade ago.
That pattern is repeating itself with biometric payment cards. BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole have already completed trials and moved forward with commercial launches, and the early indicators suggest that the technology is rapidly making in-roads with the French public. Fifty-one percent of the population wants a biometric payment card, and FPC says 50 percent would even be willing to pay for the privilege (the comparable figure is 43 percent for the rest of the world). Many would also be willing to switch banks to find one that offers a biometric payment card.
According to FPC, those cards are appealing because they address some of the lingering concerns that people have about non-biometric contactless cards. As it stands, 83 percent of France’s transactions are carried out with payment cards, and 60 percent of those are fully contactless. Both figures are well ahead of the 73 percent and 50 percent averages, respectively, for the rest of the world.
That contactless card usage has only increased during the pandemic, with the number of consumers that use a contactless card as their primary in-store payment option jumping 216 percent in France in the wake of COVID-19. Sixty-four percent, meanwhile, believe that they will use their contactless card more frequently in the future.
However, more conventional contactless cards still have a payment cap, which creates confusion and aggravation at the checkout counter. Many people do not know what their limit is, and the actual French cap is a relatively small €50, which is not high enough for many day-to-day purchases. That means that people still need to touch a payment terminal to enter a PIN, which negates the sanitary and convenience benefits of a contactless solution.
Consumers are also worried about security, and the threat of fraud if a card gets lost or stolen. Biometric cards, on the other hand, can support higher payment caps, and can do so without increasing risk for card holders and payment providers. Both the BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole cards feature fingerprint technology from FPC.
July 28, 2021 – by Eric Weiss