Technology has tried to improve the use of plastic for paying for things in many different ways. From changing the poor signature to an electronic pin, attempting to attach it to your phone, and now the latest – scanning your finger print to pay. There will be no more forgetting your pin as biometrics company Zwipe has announced that they are working alongside MasterCard to develop a new contactless credit card which uses your thumbprint for security. If it takes off, this will not only will it rid the world of pin numbers, but also chip readers and card machines.
So It’s Like Apple Pay?
No, it will have the same appearance as a normal card, perhaps a little bit thicker, but will use a finger print scanner on the card to activate a contactless payment. This method aims to improve the security of contactless payments, that at the moment require no security measure, but will be limited to low amount transactions. This cuts the chance of serious fraud to low payments, but limits contactless use dramatically.
The card starts to sound like something from a sci-fi film when Zwipe began to talk about the contactless card technology. Whilst it is also designed to work with standard terminals if contactless is not available, it is also not battery powered. It instead “harvests energy from the payment terminals”. Instead of focusing on reducing costs Zwipe is committed to pushing boundaries with the very best in cutting edge by “developing the leanest, fastest, and most power efficient fingerprint algorithm in the world,” according to Zwipe CEO Kim Kristian Humborstad.
What’s more is that this future payment system is not too far away as the contactless cards have already undergone extensive trials in Norway. All trials are described as “very encouraging” in a press release. MasterCard i hoping to keep pace with the contactless revolution started by Visa and Google Wallet, but turbo charged by Apple Pay introduction. We may see the new contactless cards introduced as early as mid 2015.
“Our belief is that we should be able to identify ourselves without having to use passwords or PIN numbers,” Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard
MasterCard are a launch partner for Apple Pay in the US, but realise that not everyone has an iPhone 6 and seem to be avoiding working with Android partners. We should see Visa launch on Samsung handsets in 2015, so perhaps this is MasterCard’s answer to their credit card rival? Users are a long way off ditching cards all together so it makes sense to make payment by plastic more secure and faster.
They also seem to have security at heart, choosing to not store any biometric data on central servers, instead opting for everything to remain on the contactless card. Would this card be useful to you, or is integration with a mobile the best way to work? Hit us up in the comments below or on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter and lets us know your contactless payment stories.