Mastercard debuts DIY fingerprint kit for biometric cards

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In the ongoing quest to replace PINs and passwords, Mastercard has introduced a kit enabling consumers to register their own fingerprint on a biometric card at home, bypassing the need to visit a bank.

When consumers receive an EMV card from their issuer equipped with Mastercard’s fingerprint recognition technology, they may enroll their biometric data on the card using their finger and a special sleeve that accompanies the card, Mastercard said in a Tuesday press release.

The streamlined enrollment process is Mastercard’s latest attempt to improve biometric approaches to authenticating card users. Its other biometric card-authentication solutions include smartphone-based “selfie pay” and iris-scanning.

With the new in-home enrollment process, consumers receive an enrollment kit in the mail separately from the card, a Mastercard spokesperson explained. The consumer inserts the card and the battery-powered sleeve activates enrollment, registering the user’s fingerprint on the card’s sensor.

“The biometric card draws power from the payment terminal so it can be used anywhere. We use a flexible biometric scanner so it’s more durable, and now we have a sleeve to register fingerprints so people don’t have to make a trip to a bank branch,” said Bob Reany, Mastercard’s executive vice president of identity solutions, in the release.

Eliminating the requirement to enroll consumers’ biometric data on fingerprint cards at bank branches cuts costs and could speed adoption for participating issuers, Mastercard noted in the release.

Mastercard launched the fingerprint scanning technology last year after piloting it in two separate trials in South Africa and a third one in Bulgaria. Other pilots are underway, but no issuers have disclosed rollout plans, the Mastercard spokesperson said.

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Biometrics Identity verification Credit cards Mastercard