NatWest Credit Cards Receive A Technological Upgrade, But Is It Enough To Make Them Attractive To Its Customers?

After a considerably long period of time, the technology installed within credit cards has finally received an upgrade, thanks to NatWest. The UK-based retail banking company, more formally known as the National Westminster Bank, has announced that it would be testing-out its latest biometric credit cards with 150 of its customers over the next three months.

The bank has partnered with Gemalto, a digital security firm, and Mastercard, a global financial services company, to develop this first-of-its-kind credit card, capable of validating a transaction with biometric authentication. This is the same technology the bank had rolled-out through its debit card at the beginning of 2019 for 200 of its customers.

With the biometric authentication technology, NatWest has made its cards more secure, offering greater protection against fraud that has so far robbed £2 billion from the British people.

To register, customers simply need to use a plastic sleeve that registers their fingerprint with the card. This fingerprint will only be stored on the card itself and not on any digital space such as a secure server or a cloud, offering fool-proof security to the cardholder and ensuring the card can only be used by the registered person.

According to reported figures, credit card fraud is becoming a growing concern in the UK, with the average amount stolen per person having jumped from £475 to £833 between the years 2016 to 2018. Although this does not indicate an increase in the instances of credit card fraud in the UK, the damage being sustained by credit card owners has increased, making improvements in debit/credit card security a priority for many financial service providers, including NatWest.

This technological advancement may even help NatWest establish a stronger position in the highly competitive UK credit card market. Currently, the NatWest credit card is offering a variable representative APR and a variable purchase rate, both of 9.99% per annum, a rate at par with some of the lowest being offered by other credit card providers. However, the purchase rate can go up to a variable 18.9% per annum while the variable balance transfer rate can go up to 14.9% per annum, depending upon the quality of the application.

Additionally, NatWest credit cards do not charge any fee on foreign transactions, but this benefit only compensates for the lack of rewards associated with cards being offered by competitors such as cashback or redeemable points.

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