Payments Association of South Africa collaborates with Visa and MasterCard on biometric authentication standards

August 3, 2016 - 

The Payments Association of South Africa (PASA) recently announced a new standardized specification to facilitate biometric authentication on payment cards.

PASA is the payment system management body recognized by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to organize, manage and regulate the participation of its members in the payment system.

Working in partnership with Mastercard and Visa, this technology framework is designed to ensure open interoperable solutions in South Africa. The specification enables a range of biometric solutions, from fingerprint verification to palm, voice, iris, or facial biometrics.

According to a statement by the association, financial institutions, solution providers, and others in the South African payments system can now rely on an interoperable and consistent infrastructure for supporting biometrics to prevent fraud and make it easier to pay securely. The architecture Mastercard and Visa has designed enables biometric forms such as fingerprints to be securely accepted by a biometric reader, encrypted, and then validated.

“As an industry we are proud to have facilitated the world’s first truly interoperable biometric specification that will unlock the benefits of biometric verification and make it available to an open community in a way that is affordable, reliable and secure,” said Walter Volker, CEO of the Payments Association of South Africa.

“To support wide adoption, it is equally important that solutions are scalable and based on open standards. Building on the current standards, this provides a common, interoperable foundation, as well as encourages innovation in cutting-edge biometric solutions,” added James Simpson, Country Manager for Visa in South Africa.

“Through this interoperable biometric verification standard in South Africa, we can connect a complicated web of players who operate with different rules and technologies,” said Mark Elliott, Division President for Mastercard, South Africa. “Together, we can drive ubiquity, safety, and utility of biometric payments, while helping to accelerate the number of smart and secure biometric payment solutions available to consumers on these platforms.”

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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.