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NatWest trials bankcard key fob for store payments

By August Graham, PA City Reporter

NatWest customers might soon be able to do their weekly shop with nothing but the keys in their pocket, as the bank kicks off a trial of a new fob which can be used to pay in stores.

Bank customers with the key fob will be able to make payments of up to £100 a time.

NatWest has selected 250 customers to trial the new fob, which looks a little like a car key. It has a small fingerprint reader which ensures that only the bank account holder can use it.

“Our research tells us that people have a strong interest in biometric technologies which can make their lives easier as well as increasing the security of their payments,” Jeni Mundy, the managing director for Visa in the UK, said.

The bank is trying to figure out whether to release the fob, a biometric bank card, or both, to customers (NatWest/PA)

The fobs will use the same contactless payment technology that can be found in smartphones and debit cards, so can be used in any shops that accept those forms of payment, NatWest said.

In May, the bank piloted a new biometric debit card which uses fingerprints to verify a customer’s identity. That trial has now ended, and the bank is more than halfway through a three-month trial of a credit card that uses the same technology.

The debit card pilot was considered a success, and the bank is now assessing whether to invest further in this technology, or the fobs, something it hopes that the launch of Wednesday’s trial can provide answers to.

“After the successful pilot of our biometric debit card we are looking at how we can further develop the technology and push the boundaries to integrate it into our customers everyday lives,” David Crawford at NatWest said.