A new payment card featuring fingerprint sensor technology is to be launched by credit card provider Mastercard.
The new technology will work on the same basis as the latest mobile phone payment systems, where consumers must have their finger over the sensor as they make a purchase.
Mastercard have conducted two successful trials in South Africa before announcing the imminent launch of the new cards.
While fingerprint technology is not foolproof, it is seen by security experts as being a step forward in delivering convenience and enhanced security.
With the present chip and PIN security, the PIN is seen as the weaker element, so replacing that with fingerprint technology is seen as an improvement.
Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard’s chief of safety and security, stated that the fingerprint technology would help to deliver additional convenience and security. ‘It is not something that can be taken or replicated,’ he said.
Previous biometric payment cards were limited in their use, as they only worked when used in conjunction with a separate fingerprint scanner. As most stores did not have the necessary equipment, the cards could rarely be used.
The new card to be launched by Mastercard however, is due to be the first to include both the digital template of the user’s fingerprint and the sensor required to read their fingerprints at the point of sale.
This will mean that by having both the data and the scanner on the same card, they should be accepted everywhere a normal chip and PIN payment card can be used.
By definition however, the new fingerprint technology will only be usable in shops and stores. All ‘card not present’ transactions, including online purchases will still need to have further security measures in place.