(Source: www.channelnewsasia.com)

JOHANNESBURG: Mastercard on Thursday (Apr 20) unveiled a new biometric card, which combines chip technology and fingerprints as a way to confirm the cardholder’s identity for in-store purchases.

The technology is currently being tested in South Africa, with additional trials being planned in Europe and Asia in the next few months.

“Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics,” said Mastercard’s chief of enterprise risk and security Ajay Bhalla in a statement.

“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.”

The technology works by converting the cardholder’s fingerprint into an encrypted digital template that is stored on the card. When shopping, the cardholder places their finger on an embedded sensor while the card is inserted in the retailer’s terminal to authenticate and approve the transaction.

Mastercard said the biometric technology helps to detect and prevent fraud, as replicating a fingerprint is a lot harder than just copying card information. It added that a future version of the card will feature contactless technology.

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