Increased Security Literally at Your Fingertips

Monday, April 04, 2022

If there is a downside to the push for extra security in today's world, it has to be all of the things consumers have to commit to memory. Everything from 4—or 6—digit device passcodes, ATM personal identification numbers (PINs), payment card PINs, alarm codes, security keys, a myriad of passwords, and heck, even remembering what mobile numbers are tied to different apps or email addresses for verification codes. It can be overwhelming!

That's one of the reasons why TSYS is partnering with Zwipe, a biometric fintech company with the mission to eliminate one of those numbers from your mental Rolodex while still increasing security and convenience around your payment card transactions. TSYS and Zwipe are collaborating to bring a viable biometric card solution to existing TSYS clients and prospects in North America. Using TSYS' market knowledge and existing card manufacturing capabilities, combined with Zwipe's biometric authentication technology, the two companies plan to produce an affordable, secure biometric product that may be a catalyst for the wider adoption of biometric cards in the market today.

The right solution at the right time

Historically, biometric cards have faced a number of challenges when it comes to widespread and faster adoption. First and foremost is the high cost of card production. Embedding multiple chips, attaching batteries, finding the right material, all led to extremely high manufacturing costs for early biometric card solutions. And would consumers be willing to pay the manufacturing costs that were passed down to them by the financial institution?

Once they were manufactured, then came the challenge of how to load the biometric information onto the card. Could consumers do it easily themselves? Would they have to visit a bank branch? Could it be done using their mobile phones?

If the first two hurdles were cleared, then the questions centered around acceptance. Would merchants have to upgrade their terminals to accommodate this new technology? What were those upgrades? Would they be universal? Or something only that a few merchants would be willing to do?

Zwipe has worked to develop a solution that can overcome all of these hurdles and make biometric cards a more realistic option for consumers today. Their innovative, single-chip solution for biometric payment cards is more cost effective to manufacture, doesn't need a battery, and can be used/accepted at any location that's already equipped with POS devices enabled to accept today's contactless chip and PIN cards. Even registering your biometric information onto the card is a simple process that anyone can do at home—no branch visits or call center support needed.

More than just a security upgrade

It's true that biometric cards add an extra layer of security to the payment process by providing secure cardholder authentication in a more convenient manner than PINs. It also normalizes authentication across regions and card types. And as noted above, they do all of this utilizing existing contactless capable POS terminals. Making it even better, since these cards are also enabled with chip and PIN functionality, their acceptance is seamless across all POS terminals whether they are NFC enabled or not.

But security is not the only driving force behind this push. Consumer demand and awareness are growing. In June of 2021, Zwipe launched a survey of American cardholders to understand consumer sentiment on biometric payment cards. The survey respondents ranged in ages from 18 to 60+, were evenly divided between men and women, and crossed a wide range of income levels.

The results? A staggering 91% of those surveyed said they want a card that is tied to their unique fingerprint. And 79% of the respondents said they would be willing to participate in a biometric card pilot program. The respondents stated that it was either very important, or somewhat important, for them to have a card whose security is tied to their unique fingerprints that only they could use. An additional survey conducted in Canada produced very similar results, as did multiple other surveys around the world.

Easy to produce, easier to use

These new biometric cards powered by Zwipe and TSYS are easier and cheaper to produce than previous biometric products that have been brought to market. With TSYS' card production expertise—the company produced approximately 100 million cards of all types in the United States during 2021—and existing production facilities, Zwipe's single-chip functionality would be seamless to integrate into the TSYS card production process.

And for the consumer, it couldn't be easier to use. When they first receive their cards, they simply register their fingerprint onto the card in a matter of minutes using a mobile app at home. Once activated with a PIN for the first time, the card can be used anywhere that contactless chip and PIN cards are accepted. They simply tap their cards on the POS device while holding their thumb on the fingerprint sensor on the card. No PIN needed. Nothing to remember except how to hold the card.

Learn more about this innovative product

If it sounds simple, it's because it is. If you would like to get more details about the TSYS and Zwipe partnership, and how it could bring biometric cards to your financial institution, just call TSYS at +1.844.663.8797, or send an email to [email protected].

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