Mastercard considers a fingerprint bank card in the UK
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Mastercard considers a fingerprint bank card in the UK

Cashless transaction giant Mastercard is in talks with major banks in the UK about the possibility of bringing a biometric payment card to market. The company has been testing cards with built-in fingerprint scanners to verify users’ identities – a more high-tech, and much more secure, option than the traditional PIN and password routine we’re used to.

Mastercard’s share price has risen by 32% so far this year

graph 0708 mastercard

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard’s president of global enterprise risk and security, told the press: “The use of passwords to authenticate someone is woefully outdated, with consumers forgetting them and retailers facing abandoned shopping baskets. In payments technology, this is something we’re closing in on as we move from cash to card, password to thumbprint, and beyond to innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence. It’s far easier to authenticate with a thumbprint or a selfie, and it’s safer too.”

Biometrics is a big talking point in the payments sector at the moment. In January, the European Union (EU) initiated a Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) – regulatory measures to help speed up transactions and give third-party firms greater access to banking data so that they can build better products. One element of the new rule set is frequent security checks – customers are required to confirm their identity five times for a contactless payment. That could easily become onerous if it means using a password – but if it just requires a thumbprint, it’s far less so.

As PSD2 becomes a formative part of the payments landscape, banks are being put under more pressure to deliver fast, seamless, and secure payment options for their customers. Expect things like eye scanning and fingerprint tech to become the norm.


Dominion holds Mastercard in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.

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