Bridging the Financial Gap With Contactless Smart Cards

The financial inclusion gap has been a topic of concern for governments around the globe, with rising numbers of unbanked women, migrants, refugees, and those living with cognitive and visual impairments that impact how they navigate making conventional card transactions [1]. There is already an effective solution available that combines ease of use with highly robust user authentication.

Visual Impairment Should Not Mean Financial Exclusion

The modern consumer expects ease of use, convenience, and security when making a transaction. Conventional payment cards are widely accepted by retailers and used to access online banking accounts or shop online. The ability to carry out transactions online has become particularly important since the Pandemic. However, there have been significant numbers of people who have been excluded from modern payment methods. Vulnerable demographics, such as the elderly, the visually impaired, those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, can find it difficult to use traditional payment cards or access online banking. This reflects the requirement to remember a PIN or password, to produce a legible (and reproducible) signature, or to read and understand the information presented on the payment card or card reader.

A biometric smart card, which is a contactless smart card with a biometric fingerprint sensor, can play a pivotal role in enabling those living with impairments to participate in modern banking methods. These biometric smart cards remove any sensory or cognitive barriers, such as the need to remember a PIN code or enter it manually. They allow users to carry out transactions with independence, peace of mind, and security by simply tapping their contactless smart card and simultaneously verifying with their payment through their fingerprint. Unlike a standard contactless card, biometric smart cards provide the contactless feature without limits.

A Secure Solution: The Contactless Smart Card

The biometric information needed to authenticate the contactless payment card user is encrypted and stored within a chip built into the card itself, making this a highly secure solution. The cards, alongside banking apps, can further aid those visually impaired or with memory issues to fully access all banking services. Furthermore, the uniqueness of each person’s fingerprint means that such cards are an unparalleled means of authentication. In the next blog, we will look at ways that contactless smart cards can be used to promote inclusivity even further.