MasterCard teams up with startup to launch first payment card with fingerprint sensor

Combines security of biometric authentication with the speed and convenience of contactless payment
  • Sam Shead (Techworld)
  • 18 October, 2014 04:13

Mastercard today said it is teaming up with a startup called Zwipe to launch a new contactless payment card with an integrated fingerprint sensor.

The built-in biometric sensor is used to authorise payments in less than a second instead of the traditional chip and pin method.

Although contactless payment cards already exist, they only allow customers to purchase goods worth up to a £20 in the UK. A biometric fingerprint sensor would allow buyers to spend beyond this amount as it adds an extra layer of security.

The card, set to be released in 2015, is able to harvest energy from the payment terminals without the need for a battery.

MasterCard said it will be compatible with all existing payment terminals on the market.

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."

The partnership with MasterCard comes after a pilot with Norwegian bank Sparebanken DIN.

Kim Humborstad, founder and CEO of Zwipe, said: "Response to our pilot with Sparebanken DIN has been very positive. Cardholders love how easy the card is to use with the added security feature. We have also had exceptionally good reaction 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."

"We will offer biometric authentication and contactless communication for all our cards since it combines convenience and security for both our cardholders and merchants" said Morten Danielsen, Business Development Director, Sparebanken DIN.

Bhalla added: "Zwipe's first trial is a significant milestone and its results are very encouraging."