With this new card, there’s no signature or pin needed
The days of being asked for your ID when using your credit card may soon be over.
Mastercard today announced a new biometric payment card with fingerprint scanning technology. This means that instead of scrawling a spidery signature on a screen or keying in a pin code at the cashier, you merely insert your card into a payment terminal and rest your finger on an embedded sensor. If the print matches an encrypted digital template of it that you’ve previously given to your bank, payment is processed.
The financial services firm recently concluded trials of the fingerprint card in South Africa and plans to roll out the technology internationally this year. The card is compatible with existing payment terminals, so merchants don’t need to lift a finger and upgrade their current systems.
“The fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security,” says Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard’s president of enterprise risk and security, in a statement. “It’s not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives.”
Customers have become increasingly familiar with biometric fingerprint technology since Apple introduced a Touch ID sensor on its iPhone 5S in 2013. It’s now a common security feature on many Android and iOS mobile devices.
“We have been extremely impressed with the robust and secure nature of the technology,” says Richard van Rensburg, deputy CEO of Pick n Pay, a South African grocery chain that participated in the trial, in a statement.
Of course, nothing is really foolproof. As The Verge notes, it’s totally possible to steal fingerprints via relatively low-tech means. Changing your fingerprint is also significantly harder than swapping out your pin.
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