mastercard biometric card payment

Consumers could soon use fingerprints rather than a PIN to authorise payments if a trial by Mastercard proves successful.

The payments giant is testing a biometric credit card with a built-in fingerprint sensor in two South African retailers, with the aim of a full rollout later this year.

Similarly to a standard card, the biometric device must be placed in the retailer’s terminal for payment. But instead of entering their PIN, consumers need only place their finger on their sensor in the corner of the card to authorise payment.

The technology works by taking the customer’s fingerprint at the point of registration and turning it into an encrypted digital template. This card remembers this as the authorising fingerprint for all future transactions.

The biometric card promises to offer the speed of contactless, without any the same security concerns if a card is lost or stolen.

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