Biometric Insights: International Border

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Purchase anything from anywhere in the world with the convenience of Contactless Biometric Payment Card

For over a decade now, EMV contact payment has been providing a universal and interoperable payment experience in which people can buy anything from anywhere in the world. 

Then came the EMV contactless payment. This payment method has not delivered though the same user experience from one country to another. Holding a contactless card in the field of a reader while typing in a PIN code is probably not the most user-friendly mode of interaction with a payment terminal. Originally, this was not thought to be a problem since contactless payment has been aiming to replace cash for small amount payments.

Given the absence of PIN protection, most countries have introduced several measures including a contactless payment cap below which no PIN code is required. In some countries, no contactless payment for amounts above the cap is possible, for this reason contact payment must be used for transaction amounts exceeding the contactless payment cap.

Germany has also a contactless payment cap. Transaction amounts below this payment cap can be paid using the contactless card without typing in a PIN. The difference is that in countries where the acquiring infrastructure supports the online PIN, transaction amounts exceeding the contactless payment cap can also be paid using the contactless card but this requires the end-user to enter his PIN after tapping his card on the terminal. As a result, this becomes confusing to some cross-border travellers.

In the EMV infrastructure, the card holder verification (CHV) is defined by the card’s issuing bank and enforced by the EMV card itself. This explains for example why a Singaporean consumer will have to type in his or her PIN code on a US payment terminal while an American consumer will not have to do so. 

Provided the False Acceptance Rate (FAR) of a biometric payment card fulfils the security requirements of the issuer in terms of user authentication, one could even imagine a world where biometric EMV cards could be configured so that consumers will neither have a contactless payment cap, nor be required to type in a PIN code. In this case, we could implement a universal user-friendly payment system for consumers around the world.

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Provided the FAR of a biometric payment card fulfils the security requirements of user authentication, we could implement a universal user-friendly payment system for consumers around the world.

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