Mastercard Launches Fingerprint Biometric Card

Mastercard the worlds leading wired cashless transaction company, is beefing up security by employing biometric authentication.The US-based company Mastercard unveiled the new biometric card that combines chip technology with fingerprints to conveniently and safely verify the cardholder’s identity for in-store purchases.

With this method of authentication, fingerprint is going to be employed for authentication. A next-generation biometric card that lets you authenticate your payments with your fingerprints could soon come to your aid.Before using the fingerprint feature, cardholders need to register the card with their bank.

During this process, the user’s fingerprint is converted into an encrypted digital template and stored on the card.The upcoming  MasterCard trial bankcard does not include contactless payment technology — but the spokeswoman of mastercard said that a future version will include contactless “adding to the simplicity, and convenience at checkout”.

For now, testers are required to insert the card into the POS terminal and then place their finger/thumb on the reader to authenticate the payment, as pictured above (vs entering a PIN into the keypad in the usual way).

 The spokeswoman said the card is configured to expect the fingerprint for authenticating a purchase but does still have a PIN as a fall-back. “If the finger is too greasy or sweaty and the biometric doesn’t go through, the cardholder would experience a small delay and then asked to put in their PIN to complete the transaction,” she added. “The PIN also allows cardholders to use the card at ATMs globally.”

When making an in-store payment, customers dip their card into the point-of-sale (PoS) terminal and scan their fingerprint on the embedded sensor. If the fingerprint matches the one stored on the card, the user is authenticated and the transaction is approved.As we speak now the biometric card has been trialled at two locations in South Africa, with additional trials planned over the next few months in Europe and Asia Pacific, according to a spokeswoman, and a full rollout expected later this year.

“We are targeting consumer rollout by end of 2017 through issuers that choose to offer biometric cards,” said.

Over the past years, Visa, Mastercard and American Express have been working on introducing security enhancements designed to protect consumers, merchants and banks against fraud.However, fraudsters and cybercriminals have also started developing the tools and techniques necessary to bypass modern security mechanisms, such as the ones that rely on biometrics.

MasterCard is touting convenience and security as the drivers for embedding a fingerprint sensor in plastic bankcards — after all, you can’t shoulder-surf a fingerprint as you can a PIN number. Although the use of contactless payment technology in bankcards (a tech that’s widespread in Europe) already offers a faster (and usually PIN-less) way to make card payments.

As part of a limited trial in South Africa, Mastercard has unveiled a card with an embedded fingerprint scanner. On the top right-hand corner of the ‘biometric card’ is a small square that acts as the reader. The firm says the card works in a similar way to sensors on Apple and Android devices that allow for contactless payments to be authorised once a stored print is recognised.

Mastercard believes the new cards have benefits not only for consumers, but also for issuers, as the technology can help detect and prevent fraud, reduce operational costs, increase approval rates, and stimulate customer loyalty.“Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, enterprise risk and security, MasterCard, in a supporting statement in regard to mastercards initiative.

“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.”

This mode of security is really going to reduce casses of fraud.Lets wait and see what VISA will also do about their security system.

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