Biometric System-On-Card Solution Helps Combat Fraud

Credit card fraud is one of the highest threats to banking organizations and consumers alike. This increasing trend not only results in a tarnished reputation, but also extreme financial losses. According to a Nilson Report, by 2025, total payment card volume worldwide is projected to be $56.2 trillion, with gross card fraud globally expected to be $35.3 billion.

In the payment card industry, biometric technology is rapidly becoming a popular solution to combat fraud. One of the most widespread biometric payment types is fingerprint, which is based on finger scanning. The technology replaces the card swipe and is suitable for PIN-less operations. Likewise, it’s usable in conjunction with a PIN code.

STMicroelectronics, a member of the International Card Manufacturers Association (ICMA), the leading global card association for card manufacturers and personalizers, created STPay-Topaz-Bio. This biometric system-on-card solution addresses the growing market demand for more secure and convenient contactless payments. The experience is efficient and more secure because hackers can’t use an image to unlock the mechanism, and banks can offer a more modern authentication system.

The target market of STPay-Topaz-Bio, a 2022 CES Innovation Award winner, is payments. However, STMicroelectronics has plans to address other markets including government ID, access control and health care in the future.

How Biometric Payment Cards Work

Biometric payment cards reinforce security in contactless payments, thanks to fingerprint authentication, while ensuring a seamless user experience for everyday transactions. Cardholders need to register their biometric data in the card, after they receive their payment card.

When a user records biometric data for the first time:

  • The sensor captures the biometric data
  • The microcontroller (MCU) extracts the biometric data to create a reference template
  • The secure element stores the reference template. The biometric data never leaves the secure element, during enrollment or everyday use, to safeguard user privacy

For every transaction, the secure element compares the data to the reference template for authentication. If the authentication is successful, the payment is approved. This only takes a few seconds.

Biometric Payment Card Benefits

There are many benefits of biometric payment cards to banks and consumers. Usually, adding more security implies more PINs and verification steps. Sometimes, this makes payments more time consuming and complex. In contrast, biometric system-on-cards introduce an innovative way to make card payments more secure and at the same time more convenient.

Biometric payment cards are easy to deploy because:

  • They can be used with existing points-of-sale (same infrastructure)
  • Users can enroll remotely for better convenience
  • Technology adoption: Consumers are now increasingly using biometric authentication in their everyday life for other applications, such as mobile

The key benefits of STPay-Topaz-Bio are:

1. Increased security


  • Biometric data is never sent to an external terminal
  • Biometric data is unique and cannot be duplicated or stolen
  • Provides proof of life
  • Reduces fraud
  • Highly integrated: This system-on-chip solution does not require any change in the card production infrastructure, which means it can be easily adopted by card manufacturers

2. Improved privacy

  • Template is stored in the secure element
  • Biometric data is never transferred
  • Payments are exclusive to the cardholder

3. Cardholder convenience

  • Fast and simple payment using fingerprint authentication
  • Card holders do not need to remember their PIN
  • No need to touch the payment terminal, which is convenient from a health perspective
  • Compatible with low and/or considerable transaction amounts, as opposed to traditional contactless payments, which have a maximum transaction amount

More Insights on Card Trends

For more than 30 years, ICMA has represented the interests of the card manufacturing industry—which includes manufacturers, personalizers, issuers and suppliers—as its leading global association.

ICMA offers regular educational opportunities, including virtual ACE-Commercial training, which provides sales, marketing, customer service and other key personnel at ICMA member companies with the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of card manufacturing.

Throughout the year, ICMA members have the opportunity to share insights and knowledge by giving presentations during ICMA webcasts and events. The association’s main event is its annual Card Manufacturing & Personalization EXPO.

Learn more about the benefits of an ICMA membership.