The technology is being rolled out in South Africa with plans to come to Europe later this year
Mastercard has unveiled a credit card that features a built-in fingerprint sensor to confirm payments via biometric authentication.
The sensor works in the same way as with mobile payments where the user simply needs to hold his or her finger on the sensor when making a purchase, removing the need to enter a four-digit PIN number.
The card works with existing payment terminals and has been rolled out in South Africa following trials with a local grocery retailer and Absa Bank, a subsidiary of Barclays.
Biometric authentication technology has long been touted as a means of making paying for goods faster and more convenient for users by removing the need to remember passwords or PIN numbers while also providing a high level of security.
PIN numbers can, of course, be stolen, guessed or forgotten, whereas it is much harder for a crook to make a copy of somebody’s fingerprint.
A Visa study last year found that the majority of people are in favour of using biometric technology. The Japanese government is planning a nationwide ‘pay by fingerprint’ system ahead of the 2020 Olympics and rail companies in the UK are also contemplating an iris and fingerprint-based ticketing system.
“Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics,” said Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard’s head of security.
“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.”
Following the success in South Africa, Mastercard is now working to extend its trails and is planning on bringing the technology Europe and Asia this year. There are also plans to introduce a contactless version, which would be limited to payments up to £30.
The use of contactless payments is growing rapidly, with the likes of Barclays and Barclaycard upping their investments in the technology.
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