MasterCard unveiled a payment card combining chip technology with biometrics to verify the cardholder’s identity for in-store purchases.
South Africa served as a test market for two separate successful trials of the technology concluded: Pick n Pay, a leading supermarket retailer, and Absa Bank, a subsidiary of Barclays Africa.
The new card builds on fingerprint scanning technology used in mobile payments as well as EMV-enabled terminals internationally.
“Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics,” Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise risk and security at MasterCard, said. “Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security. It’s not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected.”
Cardholders’ fingerprints convert to an encrypted digital template stored on the card during the registration process. The card is then ready for use at any EMV card terminal.
The technology works like mobile phone payments, in which users hold their finger over a sensor while making a purchase. Instead of a card user entering in their four-digit personal identification number (PIN), the payment card features a small biometric area designed to verify the user’s fingerprint.
The biometric card works like any other chip card for in-store transaction. The cardholder simply inserts the card into a point-of-sale terminal while placing their thumb on the embedded sensor. Once authenticated against the template, the cardholder receives approval for the transaction without the card ever leaving the consumer’s hand.
“It’s not something that can be taken or replicated and will help cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected,” Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise risk and security at Mastercard, said in a statement.
The payment network said it is now extending the trial and hopes to implement the technology throughout Europe and Asia later this year.
“Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics (and) the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security,” Bhalla added.
In other Mastercard news, the company will expand Qkr! with Masterpass, its mobile order-ahead and payment platform, to six new markets Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa and the United States. The Qkr platform allows users to pay for fees, supplies, and excursions at schools, and make payments at gas stations, parking, sports arenas, and unattended retail such as vending machines. A newly added feature called “Open Tab” enables customers to open a tab at the bar without depositing a payment card or an identity document like a driver’s license with the bartender.
MasterCard also announced a partnership with Oracle designed to deliver a streamlined digital payment experience to the retail and hospitality industries. The partnership’s initial focus is on three needs for restaurants, hotels and retail stores:
In-Store Experience – Oracle and Mastercard will develop and scale enhanced in-store payment experiences using Qkr! with Masterpass. This enables consumers to pay for goods and services via their smartphone without having to wait in line or for a restaurant server. \
Operational Efficiencies – Rather than develop and implement separate payments solutions for their in-store and online operations, retailers can benefit from a fully-integrated digital payment and fraud prevention offering through Mastercard Payment Gateway Services.
Cross-Channel Consistency – The integration of Masterpass, the digital payment service from Mastercard, into Oracle products allows retailers to provide a seamless check-out experience across different channels.
At Project Catalyst, we explore new forms of banking technologies to improve the customer experience.