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MasterCard has announced that they will be introducing a card that includes a fingerprint scanner. The announcement came hot on the heels of two successful trials of the technology in South Africa. The new cards will work in a similar way to current mobile payment systems, where you insert a card into a card reader and then place your finger on the fingerprint scanner built into the card.

MasterCard with biometric sensor

Although the fingerprints are not fool-proof, Ajay Bhalla, MasterCard’s chief of safety and security, stated the new technology will help “to deliver additional convenience and security. It is not something that can be taken or replicated.”

The new technology is a marked improvement on what we currently have, according to Karsten Nohl, chief scientist at Berlin's Security Research Labs, who told the BBC in an interview that “With the combination of Chip and PIN, the PIN is the weaker element. Using a fingerprint gets rid of that.” Dr. Nohl pointed out one drawback of the new technology, in that you only have 9 alternatives if your fingerprint is compromised, however, he is tentatively optimistic about the development, stating that it was “better than what we have at the moment.”

The new cards will include both the digital template of an individual’s fingerprint, as well as the scanner to be able to read it. This means that the new cards can be used in any current chip and PIN points of sale. This is a marked improvement on previous systems which required the store to have a system that included a separate fingerprint scanner. This greatly reduced the usefulness of the system since most retailers did not have them.

The new technology will only be useful for instore purchases, where you can physically use your fingerprint. Other “Card Not Present” transactions and online payments will still need other security and authentication procedures.

Overall

This is another great step in increasing the security of our credit cards, it is only a few years from the time when you had to give an imprint of your card and sign a paper slip, to now where you can pay with your phone using a virtual card. We can only imagine what the future holds, will the time come when we don’t need to carry our cards at all?

Source: BBC

MasterCard Unveils Card with Integrated Fingerprint Scanner
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Comments

  • Not sure if this is necessary as it may slow down transactions. Digital wallets offer this already.

  • Interesting, but presumably the card details could still be stolen (like with any other card) and used online…

  • Jacqueline parsons says:

    This is a great step forward for combatting card fraud. Wonder how long retina Id will take to introduce for online.

  • What if someone steals you cc number?

  • This is cool, but I wonder if biometric scans are actually necessary for card transactions.
    I see this as more of a gimmicky feature than being a practical one.

  • wow, is this a new trend?

  • I’m not sure how this will add “additional convenience.” Chip cards already create 20 seconds of awkwardness while you and the cashier stand there.

  • Jamie Eubanks says:

    A very nice start. Nothing is worse than a card security issue. Still a long way to go for other applications, but a nice start as I said.

  • A lot of Nurses and Doctors wash their hands a lot and don’t have readable fingerprints.

  • The_Bouncer says:

    Card fraud is never going to be fully eradicated. The best thing an individual person can do is make sure you have adequate back up (cash and multiple cards) and that you deal with banks that are cooperative in the case of fraud. My own cards have been got into on 6 separate occasions in various parts of the world. I have got the money back every time and have now accepted that it’s just one of those things we have to deal with occasionally.

  • I would be willing to give this new technology a try with a nice credit card bonus. I currently use the fingerprint scanner with my iPhone.

  • ANGELO FONSECA says:

    amazing!!! It would be great!

  • Great to have another level of security, though the idea of having only nine options left if your fingerprint is compromised is a bit sobering.

    Luckily these days, with instantaneous alerts of charges, it’s possible to suspend the card with minimal damage done.

  • Binita Patel says:

    Great new technology but not sure about it’s practicality!

  • if it will work without hicups, would be big improvement in security

  • Jacqueline Parsons says:

    Agree, certain trade persons using their hands everyday can easily distort ones fingerprint so this option could cause issues but atleast companies are investing in more ways to try to protect us from fraud.

    • yes, they are investing, but guess who is paying for this? It seems a bit of overkill and I agree with earlier comments that hacked cards have become a fact of life.

  • Wow, that’s so interesting!

  • did not know anyone was even looking into this type of thing. Interesting what P said. Didn’t know that if you wash your hands often that your fingerprint could not be readable. Does this happen if you use the hand sanitizer, too? So if it doesn’t get your fingerprint then you won’t be using that card I assume? You’d better have a backup, I guess. I like that someone is thinking of another way to secure our info though!

  • this is a great step forward for card security

  • most credit card theft is done without actually having the card

  • I like this feature considering most stores have you swipe your own card and the cashiers rarely ask for ID

  • Interesting but very impractical at the time, maybe sometime in the future but I see it far away

  • Sometimes I only feel as secure as my last transaction.

  • I think this would have been nice several years ago before digital wallet on your phone. It seems like it is late to the game as more companies are moving towards technology that accepts digital wallet transactions. As of right now there are only a few places that I frequent that don’t accept apple pay and where a physical card is necessary. Full service restaurants and gas stations are the big ones.

  • Seems like some very interesting new technology. I wonder how accurate the fingerprint scanner on the card is?

  • Interesting, I wonder what the weight will be?

  • Almost hard to believe they can get that tech into a credit card.

  • Impressive. Let’s see if this takes off…

  • Why is this being pioneered in South Africa versus any other country?

    High amounts of Fraud with a smaller population?

  • Wow, technology these days. I feel so out of date. I still just swipe and sign or stick the card in the chip reader and sign. My atm/debit card doesn’t even have a chip yet.

  • The more we can prevent fraud the better value we all get. Glad to see the progress

  • Kevin Felt says:

    Sounds interesting. Just not sure how it’s any more secure than scanning my fingerprint on my phone to make a wallet payment

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