This week headlines include a new biometric debit card launched by a UK bank, Stripe’s new billing systems to power subscription companies and the upcoming new anti-fraud regulations that will toughen sales for retailers.

Natwest launches UK’s first biometric debit card

We covered the news earlier this week, but in short – NatWest is currently trailing the biometric debit card with 200 customers.

Customers will be able to use their fingerprint to verify transactions above the £30 contactless limit, increasing security and making it easier to pay for goods or services at the tills as no PIN is required.

The launch has got a lot of attention from press, with several publications comparing the move as a threat to Apple Pay and Google Pay. More details here.

Stripe Billing launches to power subscription companies

It’s been a busy few weeks for Stripe. Last week, the company announced the acquisition of verification company Touchtech payments in a bid to prepare its product stack for SCA. This week, Stripe has launched Stripe Billing, a new product that combines advanced machine learning, SCA compliance features, and granular tax modeling to help European subscription and Saas companies get paid faster.

Stripe Billing has launched in Europe and will simplify the recurring billing process for SaaS and subscription-based companies.

It will serve as a product built on top of Stripe’s core payments infrastructure and simplify the recurring billing process for SaaS and subscription-based companies, such as Slack and Meetup in the US.

Subscriptions are a driving force in the internet economy. The subscription e-commerce market has grown more than 100% a year over the past five years, and 32% of people would prefer to buy goods via subscriptions than one-off purchases. In Europe, subscription businesses are growing even faster than in the US.

As an added benefit for European businesses, Stripe Billing also provides the easiest path to SCA compliance for online subscriptions. Later this year, Europe’s second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) will require Strong Consumer Authentication (SCA) for most online transactions. This radical change will require more than 300 million European consumers to confirm their identity using a second factor (such as a password, phone, or fingerprint) in order to complete a purchase.

For businesses accepting recurring payments, this is a particular challenge, as their customers are accustomed to being charged automatically. Stripe Billing will help companies automatically identify precisely which charges require SCA and send customizable emails to subscribers when additional authentication is needed, reducing customer attrition and revenue loss.

Tara Seshan, Product Manager for Stripe Billing said: “Subscription and SaaS companies have been some of the internet’s greatest success stories up to now, but we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible, especially in Europe.”

“With Stripe Billing, companies of all sizes now have access to advanced invoicing tools that will also help them comply with SCA and VAT requirements. We’re excited to power the next generation of European subscription companies as we continue building the economic infrastructure that will grow the GDP of the internet.”

The new Stripe Billing features are now generally available for all European customers.

New anti-fraud rules toughen sales for retailers

Speaking of SCA compliance for online transactions, earlier this week The Telegraph reported that new anti-fraud rules could make it impossible to process online orders, and therefor result in businesses missing out on sales worth billions of pounds.

Retailers will need to invest in anti-fraud technologies to combat this issue and secure online transactions – sooner rather than later.

The new rules on ‘strong customer authentication’ will require retailers to authenticate their customers through something they “have”, “are” and “know”.  

Rene Hendrikse, EMEA MD of Mitek commented: “With open banking, consumers can now benefit from better deals, access to new products and services, and better control over their money. But open banking also means the potential for fraud will grow exponentially.

“To tackle this, the regulator has introduced ramped up identity checks, with the addition of rules around ‘strong customer authentication’ (SCA) which come into force in September. Recent warnings from the retail industry suggest online retailers may not be able to process online transactions – and could miss out on billions of pounds as a result.

“Sooner rather than later, retailers must recognise the need to invest in anti-fraud technologies.  Online retailers must focus on putting the technology in place to be able to verify customer identities in line with PSD2.

“Within the next few months, investing in the right technologies and implementing them quickly and efficiently should be top of every retailer and online marketplace’s agenda. If not, the retail sector will find itself in serious trouble.”