National Bank of Kuwait and Mastercard Make GCC Debut of Pioneering Biometric Solutions

Answering the market’s growing demand for increased convenience and security associated with biometric technology, National Bank of Kuwait and Mastercard announced two pioneering biometric solutions designed to improve online and in-store shopping at a press conference held at NBK Head.

Identity Check offers an innovative authentication solution for online transactions, while biometric card features an embedded fingerprint sensor to provide an additional layer of security when making payments in-store.

Mr. Isam J. Al-Sager, Group Chief Executive Officer, National Bank of Kuwait, National Bank of Kuwait, and Mr. Mohammed Al Othman, General Manager of Consumer Banking Group, National Bank of Kuwait attended the event. Mr. Khalid Elgibali, Division President – Middle East and North Africa represented Mastercard at the event which started with the announcement of the new biometric solutions and was followed by a showcase at NBK museum. Journalists were invited to test drive the Identity Check online authentication solution along with other innovative banking technologies NBK has introduced including Video Chat, Quick Pay, Ask Me and the advanced Online Banking and Mobile Banking app services.

Isam Al-Sager, NBK’s Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “Our long-standing partnership with Mastercard enables us today to introduce the most advanced and first of its kind service in the Middle East, allowing customers to use the Selfie Pay service as well as biometric cards. These new services come in line with NBK’s endeavors to offer the latest technologies in the banking sector as demand for easier and safer banking services continue to increase.”

Al-Sager added: “We continue to focus on bringing innovative and unique services to our NBK customers through our partnerships with leading and internationally renowned companies such Mastercard. Leading the way with technologically advanced services is a strategy that falls in line with our long-term strategy to improving mobile services that satisfy the needs of our customers.”

NBK customers will be the first in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region to experience Mastercard’s Identity Check online authentication solution, while a pilot program for an innovative biometric card with an embedded fingerprint sensor will be a first for the GCC.

Mastercard Identity Check is an advanced authentication solution that uses biometric identifiers such as fingerprint, facial and voice recognition to verify users’ identity through their mobile devices when shopping and banking online. The solution works across multiple devices and platforms, simplifying consumers’ lives by eliminating the need to enter a password or answer security questions.

Following the official launch, the Mastercard and NBK co-branded app, ‘Mastercard Identity Check for NBK ’, will be available from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Consumers can download the application and register their biometrics – whether fingerprint or face – securely on the smartphone.

Once registered, users will receive a notification through the app prompting them to authenticate their identity using their preferred choice of biometrics to complete the transaction when making online purchases.

National Bank of Kuwait and Mastercard also announced the GCC region’s first pilot program for a biometric card to conveniently and safely verify the cardholder’s identity for in-store purchases. When shopping and paying in-store, the biometric card works like any other chip card. The cardholder simply dips the card into a retailer’s point-of-sale terminal while placing their finger on the embedded sensor. The fingerprint is verified against the template stored on the card and – if the biometrics matches – the transaction can then be approved with the card never leaving the consumer’s hand.

The biometric card works with existing EMV card terminals globally, so cardholders can use it wherever cards are accepted, without any new hardware or software upgrades required from merchants.

Mr. Dimitrios Kokosioulis, Head of IT & Operations Group, National Bank of Kuwait commented: “NBK endeavors to deliver innovative, powerful and distinctive value propositions to our consumers. Working with Mastercard, we are introducing solutions in the region for the very first time, meaning our customers can experience the latest and most advanced authentication technology available today. The adoption of this technology is also fully aligned with our ‘mobile-first strategy’, which outlines a roadmap to a more convenient future for our customers.”

“We are excited to build on our long-standing partnership with NBK as we debut groundbreaking biometric technology in the region for the very first time. Our joint research with the University of Oxford has proven that 93% of consumers prefer using biometrics to remembering passwords. These next-generation authentication solutions are no longer based on what you remember, but who you are – a fundamental difference that brings new levels of convenience to consumers, while further enhancing security. The development of these innovative solutions marks an important step in our ongoing quest to fulfill the needs of consumers and drive change across the region’s constantly evolving payments ecosystem,” said Khalid Elgibali, Division President, MENA, Mastercard.

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