Where passwords and PINs fail, fingerprints prevail. Fingerprint scanning and authentication is not invincible but it’s clearly more secure than the four-digit passwords most of us employ to protect our phones, e-mails and even credit or debit cards. Banks are aware of that and they have been introducing two-factor authentication systems for years now, with some adding voice biometrics to the mix. But Mastercard took it one step further by implementing the first payment card with fingerprint sensors #biomagic
Mastercard released the first ever biometric card in South Africa. Here, the presence of this technology can start the end of the PIN-typing transaction era. Instead of coming up with hard-to-guess PINs that you have to hide from onlookers at the POS, users are able to authorize a payment with their fingertips. This biometric card allows two fingerprints registration. Both have to belong to the bank card owner though, so the user can’t authorize a different person to use the card in their place.
But how do users register those fingerprints, you ask? Well, they need to go to an “enrollment center”. Here, fingerprints are taken and registered so they can be stored digitally on the card’s EMV chip. Then, the bank notifies the users when their cards are ready to be used. This year, the tech should roll globally so you might get the chance to test such a card yourself. Depending on your banking institution’s policy, of course. If it does partner up with Mastercard, you’ll be emitted a grey card with a square in the upper right corner. It will have the same dimensions of a regular credit or debit card.
From then on, every time you’ll need to make a payment, simply insert the card in the retailer’s POS and press one of the fingertips you’ve registered at the center. Keep it there until the transaction is authorized – this should happen faster than if you’d type a PIN and wait for approval from the bank.
The store owners won’t need to invest in any equipment that’s not the one already used for chip and pin cards (since the card will be equipped with those, too). Only the ones that have clung to magnetic stripe models will be unable to process payments from these biometric cards.