In order to fight fraud, MasterCard has announced its new debit & credit card which is in testing include a built-in fingerprint scanner. Mastercard took the step to improve security at a time where Apple Pay and Android Pay are literally gaining the popularity. In an effort to make payments more seamless experience, Mastercard said are in testing out the new cards in South Africa. Here are the details.
Mastercard really wants to turn your thumbprint into a PIN number now which the company says that the new cards do no require any power source and are no thicker than existing cards which are already in circulation. With more trails to come in Europe and Asia-Pacific later this year. The Mastercard can be used at existing terminals around the world and would eventually replace the need for signing or putting a secret number to authorize a purchased.
MasterCard has made an announcement of its “next generation biometric card” which embeds fingerprint recognition into debit/credit cards, only require customers to place their thumb impression on an embedded chip while it’s placed in card readers. Customers will still have to enter their PIN, but the transaction won’t be approved unless both the number and the thumbprint match. For instance, if you lose a Mastercard with the PIN 5432, thieves wouldn’t be able to use the card anymore, because it needs your thumbprint to access.
As aforementioned the cards will draw power from existing terminals, with no modification required and no new equipment needed to be bought or installed by merchants – something that hampered Apple Pay adoption in the United States initially following its rollout back in 2014.
MasterCard is piloting the feature across new areas and expects to have a full rollout by the end of the year. This may seem like a small step forward for security, but it could lead to a radical shift in banks and their relationships with law enforcement. While the new biometric cards do not require your signature, but still have drawbacks here that Apple Pay and competing Android Pay do not have contend with. Users are inconvenienced because they have to visit a bank in order to have their fingerprint taken as it is the card company which adds the encrypted fingerprint to the card itself.
Nevertheless, MasterCard assured that the fingerprints are converted into encrypted data before being stored on the EVM chip. This data, as they said, can’t be retrieved once it’s placed on the card. This could be the opposite approach of existing fingerprint authentication methods available on smartphones where the fingerprints itself never leaves the device on which it is used, for example the Secure Enclave approach used by iPhone or iPad devices with Touch ID.
Another point to note is that the cards will not be contactless either, at least not initially, meaning they will need to be inserted into a reader for them to work. MasterCard has confirmed that work in underway to make wireless transactions a possibility.
MasterCard has already completed two trails and the technology is currently expected to launch in the United States early next year. Stay tuned for more!