Forgot your ATM pin? A next-generation biometric card that lets you authenticate your payments with your fingerprints could soon come to your aid. US-based company Mastercard today unveiled the new biometric card that combines chip technology with fingerprints to conveniently and safely verify the cardholder's identity for in-store purchases. The technology was recently tested in South Africa in two separate trials. The card builds on fingerprint scanning technology used for mobile payments today and can be employed at EMV terminals worldwide. "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," said Bhalla, an Indian-origin senior executive of the company. "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," he said. A cardholder enrolls their card by simply registering with their financial institution. Upon registration, their fingerprint is converted into an encrypted digital template that is stored on the card.
The card is now ready to be used at any EMV card terminal globally. When shopping and paying in-store, the biometric card works like any other chip card. The cardholder dips the card into a retailer's terminal while placing their finger on the embedded sensor. The fingerprint is verified against the template and - if the biometrics match - the cardholder is successfully authenticated and the transaction can then be approved with the card never leaving the consumer's hand. Authenticating a payment transaction biometrically - in this instance via a fingerprint - confirms that the person using the card is the genuine cardholder. The card works with existing EMV card terminal infrastructure and does not require any new hardware or software upgrades. It can detect and prevent fraud, increase approval rates and reduce operational costs. The recent South African trials tested the potential ways convenience and security could contribute to the checkout process. Over the next few months, additional trials will be conducted with the biometric card. A full rollout is expected later this year, the company said. Additional trials are being planned in Europe and Asia Pacific in the coming months.