Mastercard, Zwipe unveil fingerprint authenticated contactless payment card

October 17, 2014 - 

Mastercard has partnered with Zwipe to launch what it claims to be the world’s first fingerprint authenticated payment card, according to a report by IBTimes UK.

Using the fingerprint sensor, the Zwipe MasterCard card authenticates contactless payments and can be easily integrated with other payment technologies.

“Biometrics makes it very simple and convenient for consumers,” Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard, told the IBTimes UK. “Passwords are inconvenient, they’re a big hassle and they get compromised. We believe that biometrics are the way of the future because your biometrics are unique to you, and when we marry your uniqueness to a device, then that authenticates you.”

zwipe-mastercard

zwipe mastercard


The card runs on stored energy transferred from radio frequencies emitted by all standard contactless payment terminals, according to Zwipe CEO and founder Kim Humborstad.

“And we have then focused on making the process as energy efficient as possible and we spent five years on actually developing these efficient algorithms,” Humborstad told IBTimes UK.

The announcement of Zwipe Mastercard arrives on the same week as the launch of Apple Pay, a payment system that combines the use of near-field communication technology with Touch ID fingerprint sensors embedded on the new iPhone and iPad models.

Despite this, Humborstad does not consider Apple Pay as a competing payment technology, and instead, calls it a “complementary” payment system.

Zwipe partnered with bank Sparebanken DIN to trial the card in Norway, while Mastercard has been testing other biometric technologies for payments, including iris recognition and palm vein recognition.

Though Bhalla would not give an exact date for the card’s launch, he did suggest that Zwipe MasterCard will be available for UK customers some time in 2015.

Previously reported, Zwipe just won the Detektor International Award for Innovative Achievement in Access Control.

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.