MasterCard develops biometric authentication card

MasterCard and Zwipe are developing a payment card with a built-in fingerprint authentication sensor.

MasterCard and Zwipe are developing a payment card with a built-in fingerprint authentication sensor.

The card allows customers to pay for goods by contactless payment using their fingerprint to confirm who they are. This increases the security of the transaction, and eliminates the need for PINs and passwords.

Contactless payments are currently limited to low value payment but this will increase security and enable cards to be used con tactlessly for any payment, by replacing the PIN with the fingerprint.

Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard explained that passwords and PINs need to be eliminated to make way for more secure and easier to use solutions.

“It should not only be safe, but it should be simple and it should be smart.” He said.

Information about the card holder’s fingerprint is stored on the card itself. The card has no internal battery, and gains power from the point-of-sale terminal when a transaction is being made.

Cards will not work if used by someone with a different fingerprint to the registered one. If the contactless transaction fails, or if the POS terminal is not contactless enabled, chip and PIN can be used as normal.

Contactless payments are currently limited to low value payment but this will increase security and enable cards to be used con tactlessly for any payment, by replacing the PIN with the fingerprint.

Founder and CEO of Swipe Kim Humborstad said: “Cardholders love how easy the card is to use with the added security feature. We have also had exceptionally good feedback 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.”

Following the trial, Morten Danielsen, business development director at Norwegian bank Sparebanken DIN, said the company will be using biometric contactless authentication on all of its cards in the future.

A number of other finance firms have been working on biometric authentication over the last year, and in September Barclays announced plans to launch biometric readers for customer authentication.

Barclays also announced plans in July to expand its use of voice biometrics to streamline authentication when clients call the bank.

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