Mastercard has unveiled a credit card that uses a fingerprint sensor to verify the cardholder’s identity, and confirm in-store purchases, in a more safe and secure manner.
The card has recently had two separate trials in South Africa – with employees from supermarket retailer Pick n Pay and Absa Bank, a Barclays Africa subsidiary, having a chance to test out the card. Following these tests, Mastercard says it will conduct additional trials with the biometric card in Europe and Asia Pacific over the next few months, with a full roll out expected later in the year.
“Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise risk and security at Mastercard. “Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security. It’s not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected.”
To use the biometric card, a cardholder enrols their card with their financial institution. Here, their fingerprint is converted into an encrypted digital template and stored on the card – making the card ready for use at card any EMV card terminal around the world, as terminals require no new hardware or software upgrades.
The card works the same as any other chip card. The cardholder inserts the card into the retailer’s terminal, when paying for goods, while placing their finger on the card’s embedded sensor. This fingerprint is then verified, and the cardholder can be on their way without ever letting go of their card.