‘Fingerprint credit cards’ to replace PIN numbers.
Coming to Britain next year, the ‘contactless’ cards that let you pay with a touch of your finger (print).
Credit cards in Britain will next year be issued with fingerprint scanners rather than PINs to speed up shopping.
Instead of placing a plastic card into a terminal and entering a four-digit number, shoppers will merely have to place their finger over a sensor on a card loaded with data on their prints.
If the scanner recognises the user, it will send a signal to the shop till, prompting a payment to go through.
The first fingerprint Mastercards are expected in Britain next year after a successful trial in Norway.
Kim Humborstad, founder of Zwipe, a Norwegian technology firm working with Mastercard on the project, said: “Feedback from our pilot with has been very positive – cardholders love how easy the card is to use with the added security feature.”
The cards are effectively the same as “contactless” models, where the user taps or waves the plastic close to a card reader, but, crucially, without any spending limit.
Ordinary contactless cards, which require no authentication, work on purchases up to £20 in Britain. Customers are asked for a Pin number check at random intervals to prevent fraud. Nearly 24 million contactless payments were made in June alone, according to UK Cards Association, up 226 per cent in a year.
Mastercard said the new fingerprint cards provided an added layer of security that meant spending limits were not required.
Ajay Bhalla of 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 – our challenge is to ensure the technology offers robust security, simplicity of use and convenience for the customer.”
Although the fingerprint scanner requires some power to function, there will be no need for batteries Mr Bhalla said. The cards unveiled next year will “harvest” energy from the payment terminals, he explained.