Smart cards – Retail banking payments

A Quality Critical market segment with 100 + million volume potential


Value propositions

World-wide there are more than 19 billion payments cards in circulation and more than 250 billion purchase transactions done annually.

The card space is dominated by 3 major payment networks and their partners who issue the cards – the banks. New payment schemes developed by players such as Apple, Google, Samsung or Alibaba and mobile network operators pose a potential threat to traditional payment networks.

As biometrics have been widely adopted in smartphones, key players in the traditional payment card industry are now strategically motivated to respond by creating fingerprint-based smart cards that surpass smartphones in convenience and population coverage (ability to serve close to 100% of the targeted user groups).

Introduction of fingerprint-based cards will increase user convenience and significantly reduce several forms of card related fraud. It will also provide the traditional payment industry with a powerful response to reduce the impact of threats from new players targeting a cut of their markets.

Key requirements

Retail banking payment cards are highly convenience focused. Convenience in this context includes the level of false rejections the user would experience when using his/her card, speed of transactions as well as how fingerprint enrollment will be organized. At same time, level of security cannot be compromised. The given solution must be able to conveniently serve very close to 100% of the targeted users.

Dependent of targeted market, we believe that this smart card application must meet either Class 2 (indoor/clean) or Class 3 (outdoor/harsh) requirements.

In case the commercial banks will be contemplating centralized storage of fingerprint, they would not allow for the financial or logistical risks of having a single source, proprietary system suppliers. Today all known small and medium-sized sensor systems are based on proprietary (non-standard) solutions. A large quality area sensor, adhering to industry standards, enables for interoperability (independence on a particular sensor supplier) at system level.

In case the payment card will not be able to recognise its holder during the transaction, a pin-code mechanism must be available as a fall back. With small and medium sized sensors, significant number of users is likely to experience high number of false rejections and in result, such users will reject usage of the biometric cards, which will negatively impact the card issuer (the bank).

A significant part of the requirements of this application (see list below) demands a large (>169 mm2) sized sensor.

Fundamental requirements

These features are all critically important to successful rollout of biometric payment cards:Comment:
– Time-constant convenience (FRR <1% – 2%)Sensor size dependent
– Ability to serve close to 100% of the targeted usersSensor size dependent
– Uncompromised security (FAR 1 in 10-100 k)Biometric algorithm setting, sensor size dependent
– Full physical flexibilityCard standards compliance
– Power consumption compatible with off-the-shelf contact and contactless readers
– Realistic total pricing (card, enrollment process, systems)Low cost materials and process
– One-touch user self-enrollmentSensor size dependent

Important features

These features may be subject to some compromises, but are still all important to project success.Comment:
– Interoperability of enrolled prints (non-proprietary solution)Sensor size dependent
– Overall system response time under 1.5 seconds1-1.5 seconds
– Logistical capability to supply 10s of millions of units annuallyHigh capacity partners
– Full ISO-complianceSensor size dependent
– Credible testing documentation (Class 2 and 3)Sensor size dependent


Related products:

SolutionActive sensing areaInterfaceSoftware/drivers
NB-0610-S Chipset11.9 x 17.9mmSPISelect embedded microprocessors


19 billion
The number of payment cards in circulation worldwide
500 million units
Estimated total biometric payment card market by 2021
Minimum targeted part of a population that must find their fingerprint payment card convenient
Maximum level of average false rejections (FRR) typically required in convenience-focused quality-critical applications
Desirable number of finger touches in user self-enrollment
minimum 169 mm2
Sensor shall have size of minimum 169 mm2 as defined by ISO