As biometrics have begun to represent the next generation in securing payments, Mastercard has unveiled a technological advancement for its own biometric cards. Cardholders can now register their fingerprints onto a biometric card at home through the new technology, the company said in an announcement.
“Making life safer and simpler for consumers is the cornerstone of our efforts around biometrics and comes through the use of some incredibly sophisticated technology,” Mastercard Executive Vice President of Identity Solutions Bob Reany said in the announcement. “People love the security our biometric card delivers because we put their needs first. The card draws power from the payment terminal, so it can be used anywhere; we use a flexible biometric scanner so it’s more durable and now we have a sleeve to register fingerprints so people don’t have to make a trip to a bank branch.”
After a long research and development process, Mastercard created a battery-powered sleeve that lets people self-enroll contact or contactless biometric cards. With the technology, their fingerprints are scanned by the sensors on their cards, and encrypted digital templates are created and securely stored.
Mastercard also said that simplifying the registration process will help speed adoption of biometrics by issuers and consumers alike. In addition, the solution is a cost-effective way for issuers to deliver biometric cards at scale without requiring additional infrastructure in branches. With the biometric card, consumers can have a secure experience at any EMV terminal either by contact or contactless payment. Issuers benefit from improved fraud detection and prevention, approval rates and customer loyalty, and merchants benefit as well: The biometric card works with existing EMV card terminals so there is no additional cost or burden.
In 2017, Mastercard was the first to introduce biometric cards that combine chip technology with fingerprints to securely verify the cardholder’s identity for in-store purposes — all without requiring an internal battery. When shopping and paying in-store, the biometric card works like any other card at EMV card terminals globally. A cardholder simply places their finger on the embedded sensor and either dips or taps the card as normal. Powered by the terminal itself, the fingerprint is verified against the template and — if the biometrics match — the transaction can then be approved with the card never leaving the consumer’s hand.