Banks compete for innovations to retain their customers. After BNP Paribas, which is about to launch the biometric card, it is Societe Generale's turn to be the first major bank to launch the instant digital card (CDI) in France. This fully virtual card allows any customer who has objected to their payment card to have a digital version of their future card on their mobile. He can thus continue to make purchases as if nothing had happened. This launch, the result of a partnership with Apple, is currently reserved for iPhone and Apple Watch owners. But "by the end of the year," according to Société Générale, holders of Android smartphones should also benefit.
Imagine the case of a traveler who loses or has his bank card stolen the day before a weekend or a vacation… Free and usable immediately, this digital version facilitates the payment by mobile of living expenses current (pharmacy, doctor, shopping ...), whether done in store or online. No more waiting for the manufacturing and then receiving the plastic version, which can take several days.
A temporary or permanent digital card
"Just a few seconds after opposing a stolen or lost bank card, the client equipped with an iPhone receives an SMS informing him that a digital version of his future bank card is available, specifies Julien Claudon, Head of Bank Cards and Société Générale digital services. He can thus continue his payments without stress and without contact from his mobile, the time to receive his new card and even after if he wishes. "We register each year between 500,000 to one million card oppositions, this corresponds to around 15% of our bank card pool, this is not a niche market", insists the professional, convinced that this Payment method should more widely appeal to customers of the bank, which has nearly 5 million cards in circulation.
Concretely, the digital card is generated and automatically transferred to the Apple Pay application, available on mobiles and Apple brand watches. "From the moment the payment terminal accepts contactless payment, it also accepts mobile payment via Apple Pay and any other mobile payment application, such as Paylib as we will soon be offering for holders of Android smartphones", underlines the expert. According to the Bank Card Group, in May, contactless terminals represented "68% of the total fleet".
Over a year and a half of work
Société Générale does not hide the fact that "major development efforts have been made" to launch this service. "Easy to use, this technology required more than a year and a half of work for our team of five to six people," says Julien Claudon. In particular to secure data. Unlike its big plastic sister, the digital card cannot be identified by a series of sixteen digits that can be hacked. "The digital card contains information encrypted by a key that Apple does not have," he insists. It is therefore impossible for the American giant to collect bank data on the bank's customers.
The stake of such a partnership for Apple is elsewhere. The group, which launched its own digital Apple Card in the United States last August, is rather seeking to bring into practice the mobile payments, particularly shunned by the French (Editor's note: they represented around 1% of payments in 2018) among contactless payment methods. Unlike traditional cards whose contactless payment is capped at 50 euros per transaction, the digital card offers contactless without limit of amount (apart from the limit authorized by the bank), since the authentication of the payment is ensured by the facial identification or fingerprint saved in the smartphone.