Zwipe, a Norwegian startup that uses biometrics — specifically fingerprints — to authenticate card transactions, has garnered $5 million in Series B funding.
TechCrunch reported Wednesday (Oct. 14) that the company, battling against the traditional bulwarks of PINs and passwords, received the money from Photon Future, which itself is wholly owned by China’s Kuang-Chi Group, a holding company. As a result of the investment, Kuang-Chi is the largest Zwipe shareholder, having grabbed a 20 percent stake in the company.
Total funding now comes to $11 million, and the latest round is tied to various business activities.
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The initial commercial launch of the biometrics technology came in 2014 with a MasterCard partnership. Mass rollout, which had been projected to come this year, has been pushed to the beginning of 2016, sometime in the first quarter, in what the site said would be “an unnamed European market, with an unnamed industry partner.”
In an interview with TechCrunch, a Zwipe spokeswoman stated that “previous pilots were carried out with an early version of the card. For mass distribution, Zwipe wanted to ensure durability, flexibility and full adherence to ISO standards first.” The company confirmed it would still be working with MasterCard. Its biometric cards will work with existing POS terminals and other types of payment infrastructure, according to the company.
The fingerprint reader is embedded into a contactless payment card, said TechCrunch, and it is the payment terminals themselves that power the reader, using what Zwipe called a “patented energy-harvesting technology.” The print is matched during the payment process, which eliminates the need for a personal identification number, as well as the need for transaction limits that have commonly been in place with other types of payment transactions as an added measure of security.
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