New MasterCards will let you pay with your fingerprint

New ‘contactless’ MasterCards will let you pay with your fingerprint.

From next year you won’t necessarily need to remember a PIN in order to shop with your credit card – you can simply use your finger.

MasterCard has teamed up with biometrics firm Zwipe to put together what they claim will be a world first: the ability to pay using your fingerprint.

The new credit cards, will include a biometric sensor, the cardholder’s fingerprint data and a scanner. When the time comes to pay, rather than enter your PIN, you can simply place your finger over the scanner. If the scanner recognises your fingerprint, it will make a contactless payment for the goods or services you are purchasing.

The cards basically work like existing contactless payment methods, though there will be no spending limit. At the moment, you can’t spend more than £20 on a contactless payment.

The launch follows a successful trial in Norway.

Is it safe?

If a thief can get hold of your PIN and card, then there’s nothing to stop them cashing in. It’s rather for complicated for them to crack a card that relies on your fingerprint in order to make payments.

What’s more, the cardholder’s data is stored on the card itself, rather than an external database, which should help security-wise.

Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard, emphasised that the challenge was to ensure the technology offered robust security, as well as being simple and convenient. He said: “We will continue to work with innovators, like Zwipe, to ensure we stay ahead of fraudsters and provide a seamless payment experience.”

Earlier this year an ATM was launched in Poland which makes use of biometric technology when you want to make a withdrawal. However, the ATM uses vein recognition rather than fingerprints. For more on this, read The ATM that reads your veins instead of your PIN

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