MasterCard to issue new contactless credit cards with integrated Zwipe fingerprint sensor in UK

December 3, 2014 - 

Mastercard will soon issue new credit cards that include an integrated biometric sensor and the Zwipe secure biometric authentication technology that holds the cardholder’s biometric data, throughout the United Kingdom, according to a report by Money Market UK.

Previously reported, Mastercard partnered with Zwipe to launch what it claims to be the world’s first fingerprint authenticated payment card to provide an additional security layer.

Now, when a consumer makes a purchase they will be prompted to place their finger over a sensor embedded on the card. Once the scanner identifies the cardholder’s print, it will instantly transmit a signal to the store till to authorize the payment.

The first Zwipe MasterCard payment cards will be issued in Britain next year, following the completion of a successful trial with Norway’s Sparebanken DIN, aligned to the Eika Group.

“Feedback from our pilot has been very positive – cardholders love how easy the card is to use with the added security feature,” said Kim Humborstad, founder of Zwipe, a Norwegian technology firm working closely with Mastercard on the project.

The new fingerprint cards are similar to ‘contactless’ credit cards in which users place or wave the card near a reader, but do not have a spending limit.

“Our belief is that we should be able to identify ourselves without having to use passwords or PIN numbers,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise safety and security at Mastercard. “Biometric authentication can help us achieve this – our challenge is to ensure the technology offers robust security, simplicity of use and convenience for the customer.”

The new credit card also contains an Europay, MasterCard and Visa-certified secure element and MasterCard’s contactless application.

Although the digital fingerprint scanner requires power to operate, battery use will not be needed as the cards are able to “harvest” energy from payment terminals, said Bhalla.

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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.