Mastercard’s new card with built-in fingerprint sensor to arrive in UK next year


Mastercard in collaboration with Zwipe has come up with the world’s first contactless payment card with a built-in fingerprint biometric sensor.

The new card, dubbed the Zwipe MasterCard, records user’s fingerprint data on the card itself using an EMV certified secure element. The card owner will just need to ensure the thumb is placed on the card’s biometric sensor in order to make a contactless purchase at any terminal that already recognizes NFC payments.

If the pre-approved thumbprint stored on the card isn’t detected, the contactless or chip-enabled purchase won’t be processed.

The new card will ensure safe and secure payment transactions as it is much harder to steal someone’s fingerprint than it is to steal their PIN.

A prototype of the new card was showcased by Mastercard in London on Friday along with Zwipe, the Norwegian developer of the fingerprint recognition technology.

Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard, in a statement said Mastercard believes that it should be able to identify its cards without use of passwords or PIN numbers. Biometric authentication can help the company achieve this.

However, the biggest challenge is to ensure that 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, Bhalla noted.

Following successful trials with Norwegian bank Sparebanken DIN, which is now planning to offer biometric authentication and contactless communication for all its cards, Mastercard is now ready to start offering the biometric cards to UK banks as soon as next year.