France Interbank Network Evaluating Biometric Payment Options

The Groupment des Cartes Bancaires CB is France’s national interbank network, and it is looking to biometrics for a next generation payment method that is both secure and simple. As such, it is currently evaluating the use of biometrics in payment transactions, eyeing a Natural Security Alliance defined strong authentication standard that it is expected to approve before the end of 2014.

The method being evaluated will have biometric readers it in-store points of sale, allowing for a customer to conduct transactions with the simple placement of her fingerprint. ATM cash withdrawal and retail payments are both being investigated.

Cédric Hozanne, CEO of the Natural Security Alliance, elaborates, saying: “The approval process commenced by the Groupement des Cartes Bancaires CB is an essential step for adoption of our technology in payment and cash withdrawal. Its approval will enable French banks to offer their clients a new payment method that through reinforcing security will bring simplicity, peace of mind and practicality.”

Initially the system will be two-factor on the part of the end user, requiring the submission of a biometric and the presence of a keyfob (to eventually be replaced with a micro-SD card in a mobile phone). The device factor is proximity based, so the user only need to be carrying it and is not required to submit her keyfob or phone. This means that, from an end user perspective, payment and cash withdrawal will simply involve the touch of a finger.

“CB must anticipate technological developments likely to be used in payment, and biometry is one of these,” explains Gliber Arira, CEO of the Groupement des Cartes Bancaires CB. “The banking community believes that biometry can generate added value on both functional and operational levels. Having said that, the technology must respect all requirements of the CB system, notably those of robustness, security and interoperability, key foundations of the trust that CB products inspire. It is on these points that we are working with the Natural Security Alliance. The project is advancing rapidly and the first payment solutions integrating biometry are expected to receive approval by the end of the year.”

All throughout May, our sister site, Mobile ID World,  examined how mobility and biometrics have been converging to offer innovations in secure and convenient payments. To learn more about next generation financial technology and the ideas behind them a great place to start would be the mCommerce Month Roundup.

June 16, 2014 – by Peter B. Counter