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French Banking Customers Have Expressed Great Interest in Biometric Payment Cards

A recent survey produced through a collaboration between Fingerprints and Kantar has revealed an insatiable appetite amongst French banking customers for the use of biometric cards.

In an online survey of 1,000 consumers in France, 59% would say ‘yes’ to a biometric payment card, compared to 50% in 2019 and 51% in 2020.

Essentially, a biometric card replaces the need for traditional chip and PIN with fingerprint ID technology to verify the cardholder’s identity. The chip in the card powers an embedded sensor that authenticates a transaction through recognition of the holder’s fingerprint; although some forms of biometric technology can also adopt iris or facial recognition.

When considering the survey, 52% of French customers were prepared to switch banks in order to access a biometric card, which rose to 64% in some areas of France, and 67% among the 18 to 34-year-olds. Also, 55% would pay an average of €3.20 more per month to have one, up from 50% in 2020.

According to a previous 2020 survey by Fingerprints, consumers have a ‘card-first’ approach to in-store payments (73%), with smartphones and mobile wallets accounting for 2% of transactions.

A significant factor behind the growing eagerness for biometric payment cards amongst interested French consumers is the unique balance of security and convenience they bring to in-store payments.

  • Security: 71% of French consumers that are interested in this technology would feel safer when using a biometric card, even if they lose it, as use is limited to the authorised user.

  • Ease: With consumers worried about forgetting PINs, 42% are drawn to the simplicity of a biometric payment card as it does not require one for daily use.

  • Hygiene: Since the pandemic, 1 in 5 consumers are worried about the health risk of physical surfaces, and 40% of French consumers want a biometric payment card for hygiene reasons as it removes the need to touch a PIN terminal.

  • Convenience: 37% of French consumers think the €50 contactless payment limit should be removed. With biometric payment cards, there is no contactless limit to in-store payments.

Michel Roig, SVP Business Line Payments and Access, Fingerprints
Michel Roig, SVP Business Line Payments and Access, Fingerprints

“It’s exciting to see the high interest among consumers, and in a country first to roll this out in a larger scale,” comments Michel Roig, SVP Business Line Payments and Access at Fingerprints. It took time and considerable expertise to equip payment cards with fingerprint sensors. 2021 and beyond will see biometric cards deployed by banks and financial institutions around the world, for the benefit of their business, merchants and consumers. Banks need to understand the technology itself to make informed decisions, to offer customers a card that enhances the shopping experience, rather than hindering it.”


  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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