Nymi, MasterCard, TD Bank Launch Pilot Authenticating Credit-Card Payments with a Heartbeat

Aug. 13, 2015

Nymi, MasterCard, TD Bank Launch Pilot Authenticating Credit-Card Payments with a Heartbeat Nymi, a Toronto-based technology provider, this week launched a pilot test of a wristband that can make contactless credit-card payments authenticated using the wearer’s heartbeat. The company launched in November with several Canadian banking partners, but TD Bank, which was not aboard at the time, according to Shawn Chance, vice president of marketing and business development at Nymi, is the one involved in the initial test. More than 100 TD employees will be involved in testing the band, which uses an electrocardiogram captured by sensors on the wrist and a finger touch from the opposite hand on the top of the band. Once a user has been validated, the authentication is persistent; that is, they remain authenticated until the band is removed, so no additional authentication factor (e.g., a password, PIN, signature, etc.) is necessary.

The pilot, which enables MasterCard payments, is taking place in three Canadian cities. And, while the company has its eye on expanding into the U.S., Chance told CardNotPresent.com, the payments landscape is very different in other markets, making Canada a good proving ground.

“The existing contactless payment infrastructure in Canada covers about 90 percent of retailers,” Chance said. “Because it’s so advanced here, it made sense to test here. Once these pilots wrap up toward the end of the year and we’ve learned more, we’ll be looking at other markets to see if it makes sense to launch similar or bigger pilots there.”

Between now and the end of the year, other banking partners will launch their own pilot tests. By that time, Chance said, several thousand contactless payments using the band will have been made.