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Mastercard biometric card trial in Mexico shows early success with seniors


Senior citizens included in Mastercard’s trial of fingerprint biometrics-enabled cards for social benefits in Sonora, Mexico have responded positively to the advanced technology, Mastercard Executive Vice President of Identity Solutions Bob Reany told PYMNTS.

The trial is being conducted along with Edenred Bank and Mexico’s social benefits agency SEDESSON, and the comfort of older users with digital fingerprinting technology they are not as likely to be familiar with was a concern at its launch, according to Reany.

“This product was extremely popular with seniors because they can use it with much greater ease,” he says. “And in some pilots, these were very old people, who were very happy with it.”

Reany also reports that enrollment success rates were high, as they have been in the half-dozen other current pilots around the world.

While some issues with social benefit delivery and biometric smart cards in Mexico are different than in the U.S., such as the lower penetration rate of smartphones with biometric technology, many of the concerns are very similar.

“Even in the United States, a remarkable number of dead people are collecting Social Security checks every month,” Reany says.

The cards remain expensive, at between $10 and $20, particularly for the financial inclusion goal which were a major initial motivation for Mastercard in the development of biometric cards, as Reany told Biometric Update earlier this year. Mastercard even introduced the technology to the public with a video showing its use for government programs in March. Even as the payments giant works to lower card cost, there are banks and card issuers that will pay extra for biometrics as a prestige feature.

“They can take that card and put it on their affluent and commercial card portfolio, and now there is an offering better than a platinum card or a black card,” says Reany. “This is also something that can be used to safely protect really large lines of credit.”

Technology providers continue to develop biometric smart cards as they work towards their commercialization for payments, with a partnership between NEXT Biometrics and ABCorp announced last week as one example.

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