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Mastercard Introduces New Biometric Card

21 April 2017

Head of Brand at Pick n Pay, Michelle van Schalkwyk pays for her shopping using her fingerprint to authenticate the transaction. Image credit: MastercardHead of Brand at Pick n Pay, Michelle van Schalkwyk pays for her shopping using her fingerprint to authenticate the transaction. Image credit: Mastercard

Credit card giant Mastercard has unveiled its next-generation biometric card that combines chip technology with fingerprints in order to increase safety and protect cardholder’s identity.

The new card will be tested in two trial locations in South Africa and the fingerprint aspect can be used for mobile payments as well as used at EMV terminals worldwide.

“Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics,” says Ajay Bhalla, president, 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.”

Cardholders enroll their card with a financial institution and on registration their fingerprint is converted into an encrypted digital template stored on the card. The card then can be used at any EMV card terminal globally. When in use, the biometric card works like other chip cards except the user also places their finger on an embedded sensor and the fingerprint is verified against the template. If they match, the transaction is approved without the card ever leaving the user’s hand, Mastercard says.

The benefits of biometric card is that the technology helps detect and prevent fraud, increase approval rates and reduce operational costs. Future versions of the cards will include contactless technology, Mastercard says.

The trials in South Africa will take place at supermarket retailer Pick n Pay and Absa Bank and will take place over the next few months. Additional trials are planned in Europe and Asia Pacific until the full roll out of the cards expected later this year.

To contact the author of this article, email Peter.Brown@ieeeglobalspec.com


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