Nov 03, 2019 16:03 UTC
  • Iran launching biometric payments to reduce card transactions

Iranian banking authorities say biometric systems of payments which rely on fingerprints and other physical characteristics for verification would gradually replace the current card-based methods.

The official IRNA agency cited a senior banking official on Sunday as saying that biometric payment systems would help reduce the massive number of card transactions that are currently carried out in Iran.

“Payment through biometric methods like fingerprint is being planned and will be implemented in the future,” said Mohammad Mehdi Sadeq.

Recent estimates suggest that nearly 7.7 million card reader machines, known as point of sale terminals (POS), are installed across Iran, an average of one device per eight cardholders.

Many Iranians use their debit cards for small purchases like paying for bus and subway fares. The IRNA report said a total of 2.513 billion card transactions had been processed by the Iranian banking system between August 23 and September 22, 2019, without any fees being charged.  

Sadeq said biometric systems would accompany the current quick response (QR) codes, which use mobile phone applications to finalize the payments, to reduce the number of card transactions.

He said around five percent of POS machines in Iran had already been updated to process QR codes, adding that the figure would reach 20 percent until March 2020.

The official said fees charged for using QR methods would also change to encourage more customers to use the system in future.

“It is estimated that using mobile phones for payments would increase by 20-30 percent if the fee system is reformed,” said the official.

Sadeq said there has been a long discussion about fees that should be charged for QR and other new payment methods, adding that a final decision has not come mainly because of the complexities surrounding the issue.