MasterCard's collaboration with Zwipe should allow customers to make larger payments using contactless

MasterCard to introduce fingerprint contactless cards

A new venture from MasterCard will allow people will be able to make card payments using their fingerprint instead of their Pin number.

MasterCard has partnered up with Norwegian firm Zwipe to unveil what they describe as the "world's first" contactless payment card featuring an integrated fingerprint sensor.

People will be able to pay by swiping the card on a reader and verifying their identity by placing their finger on the card, which will have fingerprint data stored within it rather than on an external database.

The technology is already being trialled in Norway and Poland and it will be made available to the banks that MasterCard works with next year as the card issuers.

Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard, said: "Our belief is that we should be able to identify ourselves without having to use passwords or Pin numbers.

"Biometric authentication can help us achieve this. However, our challenge is to ensure the technology offers robust security, simplicity of use and convenience for the customer. Zwipe's first trial is a significant milestone and its results are very encouraging."

Zwipe said that because the fingerprint authentication will act as an extra level of security when making a card payment, people will potentially be able to make higher value payments than they would when they are paying by simply swiping a contactless card.

At present, when someone pays by swiping their contactless card on a reader and not entering their Pin, this method can only be used to make a small payment of up to £20 in the UK.

The fingerprint technology cards will be designed to work with payment terminals on a widespread basis and they will have a similar appearance to existing cards. People will also be able to use Chip and Pin on the cards as a back-up if they need to.

Kim Humborstad, founder and chief executive of Zwipe, said there had been a "positive" response to the piloting of the card, which people have found easy to use.

“Cardholders love how easy the card is to use with the added security feature,” he added. “We have also had exceptionally good feedback from retailers participating in the pilot. This pilot enabled the partners to gather valuable customer feedback, experience and best practice for the enrolment and deployment phase.”

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