Toronto-based wearable startup Nymi announced this morning that it has completed something that, just a few years ago, would have been considered science fiction. With a little help from TD and MasterCard, the company has completed what it says is the world’s first biometrically authenticated, wearable credit card payment, using a Nymi Band and the user’s heartbeat.
The payment was made last month, as part of a new closed pilot. Over 100 TD users in the GTA, Ottawa, and Regina will continue to test the Nymi Band’s biometric payment functionality until the end of summer, and Nymi says that other participating Canadian banks are scheduled to launch similar pilots later this year.
The Nymi Band works by identifying a user based upon their unique heartbeat (electrocardiogram) through the company’s proprietary HeartID technology. For the pilot testing, Nymi developed an NFC-enabled version of the Nymi Band that can link to the tester’s MasterCard.
“Nymi’s goal is to fundamentally change the way authentication is treated and to move industries towards a more secure and convenient identity model,” said Nymi CEO Karl Martin. “By working with partners like TD and MasterCard, we are effectively demonstrating that continuous authentication can be a more secure and convenient way to make retail payments.
In an exclusive interview with BetaKit back in February, Martin was tight-lipped about the company’s planned pilot programs, saying, “we don’t want to yell at the top of the mountain until we’re really sure we have something they’re going to love.”
It seems as though the company took a major step up the mountain this summer.