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Mastercard looks to bin the PIN as it trials fingerprint-secured credit card

Mastercard has shown off biometric credit and debit cards that comes with built-in fingerprint sensors.Bad news for those of you with sweaty hands

The card, which is currently being trialled in South Africa before additional trails take place in Europe and Asia, is no thicker than a standard card, but comes with an embedded fingerprint sensor on its top right corner that allows customers to make payments without having to input their PIN, assuming they don’t have sweaty hands.

Once a user has registered their fingerprint with their bank, they can shove their card card into a retailer’s terminal and touches the sensor. The fingerprint is then verified, and means that a user can make a payment without letting go of the card. A bit like with, er, contactless then.

Mastercard notes that the power for the fingerprint reader comes from the terminal itself, so there’s no need for the newfangled card to include a built-in battery.

"Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics,"said Ajay Bhalla, president, enterprise risk and security, Mastercard.

"Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security. It’s not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected."

Mastercard has said that it expects the cards, which can work at any retail terminal globally, to see a full rollout later in the year. However, the biometric cards are no doubt more expensive to manufacture than PIN-supported and contactless cards, so don’t expect to get your hands on one anytime soon.

Back in October, Mastercard launched its selfie-based authentication service in Europe following trials in the US, Canada and the Netherlands.

The service replaced the existing MasterCard check-out process that appears during purchases at individual retailer sites, manifesting as a pop-up to accept a selfie or a fingerprint scan. µ


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