Voice of the Industry

Metal cards and biometrics: enhancing payment experiences

Thursday 2 November 2023 07:12 CET | Editor: Mirela Ciobanu | Voice of the industry

Jesper Domargård, Marketing Director at CompoSecure, reveals how premium metal payment cards and biometric authentication capabilities are converging to take the payment card experience to the next level.


As banks and fintechs look to attract new customers, the ways in which these two trends are melding can create more personalised products to drive customer loyalty. 


Incorporating biometrics into our daily lives

The realm of biometrics is rapidly expanding, growing to impact the everyday experiences of individuals across the globe. Whether it’s unlocking a smartphone throughout the day with fingerprint or facial recognition or accessing a realm of broader applications, the adoption of biometrics is projected to soar. Its rise is rooted in the promise of enabling an elegant and seamless user experience without compromising security, and as of 2022, 55% of smartphone users already used biometrics to unlock their smartphones, according to Security Magazine.


Expanding horizons for metal cards

Parallel to the biometric surge, the growing allure of metal credit and debit cards is captivating an expanding global audience, attracting both younger and more affluent customers. 

Initially conceptualised as a highly exclusive, targeted offering, metal cards took flight with the launch of the American Express metal Centurion Card in 2003. Since then, their appeal has transcended boundaries. With the 2016 introduction of the metal Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which was ‘enthusiastically received by millennial consumers’, the cards became a staple with the mass-affluent demographic. The New York Times reported that ‘the Reserve acquired more customers within two weeks than Chase had expected for 12 months … more than half of all cardholders were under 35’. 

Recent years have seen European fintechs effectively embrace metal cards, often as key components of tiered packages. These cards are positioned not only as aesthetically pleasing but also as symbols of durability and elegance. For digital-centric challenger banks, (metal) cards are often their only physical touch point with customers, enabling them to convey the bank's ethos and bolster patron loyalty, enhancing the rewards and benefits offered by providing a sleek, metal card. ‘The card’s physical form can come to symbolise key aspects of what a program aims to represent’, reports Payments Journal.


A convergence of biometrics and metal cards

We stand now at a turning point, in which these emerging trends are poised to merge with the launch of metal cards that feature biometric sensors. With this innovative technology, the chip on a payment card can store (or enrol) the customer’s fingerprint (a mathematical conversion applied to key point descriptors rather than an image). During a payment transaction, the cardholder simply taps the card onto a payment terminal while placing a finger on the card's biometric sensor. The fingerprint that touches the fingerprint sensor is instantly compared with the enrolled fingerprint template. Crucially, this matching process occurs within the chip itself, ensuring that biometric data remains encapsulated within the chip and never traverses the point-of-sale terminal or the issuer's systems. Successful matching provides the authentication needed for the payment to proceed.


Elevating personalisation with biometric metal cards

Today’s consumers no longer view payment cards as mere tools for transactions; rather, they consider them to be accessories - extensions of their identity and lifestyle. This sentiment is epitomised by the multitude of social media posts featuring metal cardholders proudly posing with their payment cards. They want to show them off. 

The infusion of biometrics into cards takes personalisation to new heights, integrating the user’s identity with the payment experience. These cards will really ‘know’ their users, discerning and distinguishing the legitimate cardholder from any other individual on the planet. Because after all, as the saying goes, no two fingerprints are the same. 


Biometric integration propels metal cards into the future

The union of biometric authentication and metal cards propels both toward an increasingly sophisticated future, harmonising elegance and high-tech innovation. This convergence marries convenience with top-notch security, ushering in a new era of personalised and fortified payment experiences.


About Jesper Domargård

Jesper Domargård, Marketing Director at CompoSecure, possesses a diverse and extensive background in various sectors of the payments industry, having previously held positions at Visa, Worldline, and IDEMIA before his tenure at CompoSecure. He's widely recognized for his analysis and comments on the payments field, with several of his articles featured on various platforms. Jesper holds an MSc in Business administration from the University of Linköping, Sweden.


About CompoSecure

Founded in 2000, CompoSecure (Nasdaq: CMPO) is a technology partner to market leaders, fintechs, and consumers enabling trust for millions of people around the globe. The company combines elegance, simplicity, and security to deliver exceptional experiences and peace of mind in the physical and digital world. CompoSecure’s innovative payment card technology and metal cards with Arculus security and authentication capabilities deliver unique, premium branded experiences, enable people to access and use their financial and digital assets and ensure trust at the point of a transaction. For more information, please visit www.CompoSecure.com and www.GetArculus.com.

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Keywords: biometrics, payments , fintech, ecommerce, customer experience
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: CompoSecure
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce


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