Mastercard unveils fingerprint-scanning card

Mastercard has unveiled a new card that comes with a fingerprint scanner, allowing consumers to make purchases without the card ever leaving their hands. It builds on fingerprint scanning technology currently available in smartphones, and can be used at EMV terminals worldwide, the company said in a press release.

The technology was tested in South Africa, in two separate trials. One was with Pick n Pay, while the other one was Absa Bank, a subsidiary of Barclays Africa.

The process is simple. You go to your financial institution and enrol for the card. Once registered, your fingerprint is converted into an encrypted digital template and stored on the card.

When shopping, dip the card into the terminal while holding the finger on the sensor. If the fingerprint is a match, the transaction is approved.

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

Additional trials are being planned in Europe and Asia Pacific in the coming months.

Said Richard van Rensburg, deputy CEO of Pick n Pay: “We are delighted that this innovation has been trialled for the first time at Pick n Pay stores in South Africa.  Biometric capability will mean added convenience and enhanced security for our customers. The technology creates a platform on which we can further our strategy of personalizing the shopping experience in a meaningful way.  We have been extremely impressed with the robust and secure nature of the technology.”

Image Credit: Håkan Dahlström / Flickr