Bionym to authenticate payments via heartbeat

Bionym is trialling its wearable Nymi Band for contactless card transactions at the point-of-sale in Canada, allowing customers of participating banks to authenticate transactions using their heartbeat.

The trial will test the use ECG-authenticated payments with customers of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and other issuing banks before the end of the year.

The Nymi bracelet has an embedded sensor which recognises the wearer’s unique electrocardiogram (ECG) and sends the authentication to their devices using Bluetooth.

In September, Bionym raised $14 million on the back of a pre-launch order book for 10,000 of its wearable bracelets.

“We’re continuing to work to provide customers increased choice how they pay. Once their wristband is activated, they can leave their phone at home while they go for a run or run an errand and conveniently and securely buy a coffee or groceries with a tap of the wrist,” said Jeremy Bornstein, head of payments innovation at RBC.

Earlier this month, MasterCard announced a partnership with Norwegian firm Zwipe to launch a contactless payment card with built-in fingerprint sensor. The biometric authentication replaces the PIN entry, thus enabling cardholders to make payments over and above the low-value limits typically applied to contactless transactions.

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