In this day and age of rapid technological advances, it comes as no surprise that we have a Credit Card with a fingerprint scanner. In a constant effort to upgrade the safety of plastic money, card issuers are attempting to introduce new features to their Credit Card products.
Recently, the popular Credit Card issuer Mastercard unveiled a Credit Card that comes with an inbuilt fingerprint sensor. This roll out is the result of two successful trials in South Africa.
How does the technology work?
The fingerprint scanner technology for Credit Cards is similar to fingerprint scanners used to authenticate mobile phone payments. Users are required to place their finger over the sensor at the time of making a purchase.
Experts on Credit Card security say that while the use of a fingerprint scanner is not foolproof, it is, however, a sensible use of biometric technology.
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Mastercard’s launch of a fingerprint sensor-enabled Credit Card will make Credit Card transactions much more convenient for users, giving them enhanced security. However, fingerprint sensors can be compromised.
The fingerprint sensor will allow users to scan their fingerprints nine times before blocking further incorrect attempts.
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The sensor scores over the PIN
Let’s be optimistic about the new technology. A few years ago, card issuers announced the introduction of a combination of chip and PIN for all Credit Cards. However, with this combination, the PIN barrier is more easily compromised.
The use of a fingerprint scanner effectively eliminates the hazard of PIN misuse. This could go a long way towards reducing the incidences of cybercrime.
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No scanner required
These new Credit Cards will be the first to include both a digital template of the user’s fingerprint as well as the sensor required to read the fingerprint. This eliminates the need for a separate fingerprint scanning machine at the point of sale.
In the past, biometric payment cards worked successfully only when used together with a separate fingerprint scanner.
In this case, the usefulness of biometric payment cards is limited, since only stores with the appropriate equipment can accept them.
If both the biometric data and the scanner are available on the same card, these Credit Cards will be accepted wherever normal chip-enabled and PIN Credit Card can be used.
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The last word
The biometric verification feature can only be used for in-store purchases. Online and other so-called cardless transactions will still need further security measures.