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MasterCard and Zwipe Bring Biometrics to Cards

MasterCard has teamed up with Zwipe to integrate fingerprint sensors into contactless cards

While MasterCard may not actually make or issue cards, they’ve teamed up with Zwipe to help launch the world’s first fingerprint authenticated payment card.

Utilising Zwipe’s biometric sensor, a consumer can make a contactless payment by holding their thumb over the fingerprint reader to authorise the contactless purchase.

This adds another layer of security to contactless payments, something that many consumers feel aren’t secure enough. It’s also a great way to introduce the increase in contactless purchase value.

The first MasterCards with Zwipe technology embedded into them will be issued in Britain next year, thanks in part to the successful trial run in Norway with Sparebanken DIN.

“Feedback from our pilot has been very positive,” said Zwipe founder Kim Humborstad, “cardholders love how easy the card is to use with the added security feature.”

“Our belief is that we should be able to identify ourselves without having to use passwords or PIN numbers,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise safety and security at MasterCard.

“Biometric authentication can help us achieve this, our challenge is to ensure the technology offers robust security, simplicity of use, and convenience for the customer.”

According to Bhalla, power concerns will be combated by the biometric technology being able to “harvest” energy from payment terminals – so cards shouldn’t really be any thicker or heavier.

The news follows that of MasterCard and Visa’s decision to overhaul the annoying 3D Secure technology that plagues eCommerce purchases currently.

Do you think biometrics in cards is a technology that will take off and signal another future for plastic payments?

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