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Mastercard introduces credit card with fingerprint sensor

22 April 2017, 01:11 | Jan Cross

Mastercard introduces credit card with fingerprint sensor

How Master Card uses fingerprint sensors in payment cards

Mastercard is officially the first major card vendor to introduce a biometrics-based payment card after the company announced successful trials of this new technology in South Africa.

For now, MasterCard is testing the new cards out in South Africa at a chain of supermarkets, but it plans to expand the tests throughout the globe in the next year.

"Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security". From smartphones to safes, everything now has biometric security features, so it makes ideal sense for banks and financial institutions to look at fingerprint sensors to protect credit and debit cards.

According to MasterCard, a cardholder enrolls their card by registering with their financial institution.

The sensor works by reading the user's fingerprint and comparing it to a copy stored on the card's chip. This allows the card to be used at EMV terminals worldwide.

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After they are registered, users dip the card into a retailer's card reader or a bank terminal as usual while placing their thumb or finger on the embedded sensor.

Users can store up to two fingerprints on the card's EMV chip. The fingerprint is verified against the template and - assuming a match - the cardholder is successfully authenticated and the transaction approved without the card ever leaving the consumer's hand.

Mastercard said the biometric technology helps to detect and prevent fraud, as replicating a fingerprint is a lot harder than just copying card information. Over the next few months, additional trials will be conducted with the biometric card.

The technology is now being tested in South Africa, with additional trials being planned in Europe and Asia in the next few months.

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