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Mercedes and Mastercard Debut Fingerprint Payment Offering in Germany

Mercedes-Benz cars

Mastercard has launched an in-car payment partnership aimed at Mercedes drivers in Germany.

The collaboration will let customers use a fingerprint sensor in their car to make digital payments at more than 3,600 service stations in Germany, the companies announced Monday (Sept. 25).

The deal makes Mercedes-Benz the first car company in the world to add Mastercard’s Card on File for Commerce Platforms technology into its vehicles and comes as consumers are increasingly turning to biometric payment options like fingerprint scanners.

Franz Reiner, board chairman for Mercedes-Benz Mobility AG, said in a news release the partnership is already working on further integrations, with this one designed to make payments easier for the company’s customers.

“From now on, they can pay their fuel bill directly from their car using their fingerprint — simply, securely, and conveniently,” Reiner said. “An intuitive payment process and a best-in-class customer experience lay the foundation for the success of digital offerings.”

PYMNTS spoke with Mercedes CEO Nico Kersten in March about his company’s development of an in-house eCommerce ecosystem.

While eCommerce may have started on the web, he told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster, “now it’s shifting to the vehicle.”

Kertsen said drivers get access to that ecosystem as soon as they take possession of their vehicle, and get their “Mercedes me” ID, giving them a user account and point of access for the car company’s apps.

“With this ID you also have a payment profile. There’s always a connection between the vehicle, the hardware, and the person — whether it’s the driver or a ‘co-driver,’” he said.

The CEO added that the fingerprint sensor in the car provides authentication and helps avoid multiple steps.

“Two-factor authentication,” said Kersten, “is good for customer protection, but unfortunately it’s not so good when it comes to customer experience. So that’s why we’ve used biometrics to authenticate payments.”

Meanwhile, biometrics remain popular with consumers outside their vehicles, with recent PYMNTS intelligence showing that 51% of online shoppers used this method instead of typing in a password.

Tracking the Digital Payments Takeover: Biometric Authentication in the Age of Mobile,”a PYMNTS Intelligence and AWS collaboration, found that 60% of fingerprint scan users use this method to validate purchases more than once a week. In addition, 58% of facial recognition users use the method more than once weekly.