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First European trial of Mastercard’s biometric card completed


UniCredit Bulbank of Bulgaria recently completed the first European trial of Mastercard’s biometric card, which combines chip technology with fingerprint technology to verify cardholders’ identity for in-store purchases.

The biometric card works similar to any other chip card whereby the cardholder inserts the card into a retailer’s terminal while placing their finger on the embedded sensor. The fingerprint is verified against the template and, if the biometrics match, the cardholder is successfully authenticated and the transaction can then be approved.

The Mastercard biometric card uses IDEX’s flexible fingerprint sensor. According to a company statement, IDEX’s off-chip technology uses a thin, flexible sensor made from a low-cost polymer. This allows it to be compliant with ISO standards for long-term durability and makes it uniquely suited for use in smartcards.

According to UniCredit Bulbank, the trial received positive customer feedback with 93% of participants finding the biometric card more convenient than PINs and more secure than regular chip cards. Additionally, more than 90% said they would probably upgrade their card with the biometric feature if it was available.

“We are very pleased with the increasing momentum of the global biometric card program launched by Mastercard in April 2017,” commented Dr Hemant Mardia, CEO of IDEX. “The UniCredit Bulbank pilot in Bulgaria follows two previously successful end-user trials in South Africa with Absa Bank and retailer Pick n Pay. The UniCredit pilot is the first to be completed in Europe, and we expect further trials to be completed in Asia and other regions in the next few months.”

“Consumers are becoming used to the ease of using fingerprint sensors because of their use in mobile handsets,” continued Mardia. “Additionally, banks, retailers and government institutions are increasingly recognizing the benefit of biometrics as the best way of getting secure identification. IDEX has established a leadership position in this biometric card segment, and we are focused on commercializing our products and capitalizing on our early-mover advantage.”

In related news, IDEX recently introduced a new proprietary matcher algorithm for next generation biometric cards.

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