Thursday, 20 April 2017

Mastercard Introduces Credit Card With Fingerprint Scanner

With the growing concern on financial tech security, MasterCard announced a new credit card with a built-in fingerprint scanner to further secure its card users. The card combines the usual chips you find in cards today with a biometric sensor that promises more secure transactions and less opportunities for fraud.

According to Mastercard, "the card allows customers to authorize payments with just a touch, rather than using signatures and PIN numbers, and it works with existing chip-and-PIN card machines."


The biometric card has a two-tier authentication system, though the first one can hardly be considered secure. It has the usual chip that almost call card readers these day use to conduct transactions. The difference is that it has a fingerprint sensor on the side opposite the chip. Instead of keying in a PIN code, which offers minimum security, the cardholder simply places her or his finger on the sensor to authorize payment.

Unlike with a smartphone or computer, however, you don’t set up your fingerprint yourself. You naturally have to go through your financial institution to not only register but to also get your fingerprint converted. While the fingerprint is encrypted before being stored on the card itself, MasterCard doesn’t go into detail on the security measures employed in the new type of card, much less address potential privacy concerns as far as banks are concerned.

The financial services giants has kicked off test in South Africa for the “next generation” card. Barclays Africa subsidiary Absa and supermarket Pick n Pay are the two institutions participating in this trial run. MasterCard is also planning on expanding the tests in Europe and the Asia Pacific region.

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