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Fingerprint card payments coming to France in autumn

You could soon make a card payment using your fingerprint in France as a French bank is set to launch the system this autumn.

BNP Paribas will release the VISA bank card later this year. It will allow you to pay using your fingerprint for transactions that would normally require your four-digit PIN code.

Contactless payments will still be possible, but will be limited to €50 per transaction, as they are now. In contrast, the fingerprint payment system has no limit.

As with contactless cards the first transaction will require your PIN to set up, but after that users will be able to pay using their print.


The card has a small space on which you place your thumb or finger, to pay by thumb or fingerprint.

There is no requirement to touch the merchant’s card reader, or record your fingerprints on any other device or at the bank.

Your fingerprint data is stored on the card itself, and there is no “central record” of your fingerprint anywhere, BNP Paribas said.

Romain Perray, lawyer at law firm McDermott Will & Emery, told news source BFMTV: “It will significantly reduce the risk of a [hacker] attack on what would otherwise be one centralised database. It is obviously much more complicated for hackers to target the phones and the bank cards of every individual citizen.”


Payment in the time of Covid

The new technology has become increasingly relevant post-Covid-19, the bank said, as people seek to pay in more contactless ways to avoid touching surfaces.

Read more: French entrepreneur invents anti-virus ‘hook’

Jean-Marie Dragon, head of electronic money and innovative payments at BNP Paribas told BFMTV: “This is a project that we had started before the coronavirus, but [the virus] has sped up the trend of contactless usage, so this product has become even more needed.”

Biotechnology, as it is known, is already commonplace on many digital devices, especially smartphones and laptops. Some use face recognition to allow you to log in, while many others allow you to make payments or sign in to apps using your fingerprint.

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