Card provider teams up with Zwipe to launch new contactless payments method
Mastercard has announced a new way to bring extra security to the world of contactless payments with the launch of the world’s first fingerprint-enabled payments card.
Working in conjunction with verification specialists Zwipe, the company has today released the Zwipe MasterCard payment card, which it says is the first in the world to use biometric data alongside standard authentication processes to provide extra security for contactless payments.
The new card (pictured left) looks very similar to existing Mastercard products, but comes with a special biometric sensor equipped with Zwipe’s secure biometric authentication technology integrated inside.
This software stores the cardholder’s biometric data on the card, which then becomes part of the payments approval process following activation with a quick fingerprint scan, which replaces the need to enter a PIN number.
This extra level of security, which should mean that only the registered user can pay with their card, means that customers using the fingerprint process can make payments of any amount, unlike other contactless payment cards on the market.
The card also contains an EMV certified secure element and MasterCard’s contactless application, with neither this nor the user’s biometric data ever being sent to a central database.
It is set to be released in 2015, as Zwipe also looks to integrate a method for the card to harvest energy from the payment terminals without the need for a batter, ensuring the sensor never runs out of power.
“Our belief is that we should be able to identify ourselves without having to use passwords or PIN numbers,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard.
“Biometric authentication can help us achieve this. However, our challenge is to ensure the technology offers robust security, simplicity of use and convenience for the customer. Zwipe’s first trial is a significant milestone and its results are very encouraging.”
“Safety and security in everyday payments is at the heart of MasterCard’s business. We will continue to work with innovators, like Zwipe, to ensure we stay ahead of fraudsters and provide a seamless payment experience, as ultimately it is consumers who decide how they choose to pay.”
The launch comes following a trial with Norway’s Sparebanken DIN, which reported great success in making payments quicker and easier to use for its customers.
“Response to our pilot with Sparebanken DIN has been very positive,” Kim Humborstad, founder and CEO of Zwipe, added. “Cardholders love how easy the card is to use with the added security feature. We have also had exceptionally good reaction from retailers participating in the pilot. This pilot enabled the partners to gather valuable customer feedback, experience and best practice for the enrolment and deployment phase.”
Contactless payments have seen a huge rise in the UK over the past year as more and more retailers and organisations implement the technology. Perhaps most notably, Transport for London announced that over one million transactions had been completed using NFC technology in just nine days following its rollout across the London travel network.