MasterCard will launch a contactless card with a built-in fingerprint sensor in the U.K. in early 2015 with Norwegian payment technology provider Zwipe.

Fingerprint Cards AB has worked with Zwipe to develop the fingerprint sensor technology for the card, the companies said in a press release. Cardholder fingerprint data is stored directly on the card, not in an external database.

The biometric authentication replaces the PIN entry, thus enabling cardholders to make payments over and above the low-value limits typically applied to contactless transactions, Zwipe said in the release.

The Zwipe MasterCard does not use a battery, but operates off the radio frequency signal from payment terminals that accept contactless transactions.

Zwipe tested the technology with Norwegian bank Sparebanken DIN, said Kim Huborstad, founder and CEO of Zwipe, in the release. "Cardholders love how easy the card is to use with the added security feature," Huborstad added.

Zwipe's development comes at a time when the potential for getting consumers in the habit of using fingerprint sensors for payment card authorization should get a boost from Apple Inc.

Apple debuts its Apple Pay mobile payment system on Oct. 20, utilizing the TouchID fingerprint sensor on its new iPhones and iPads. Apple Pay supports payments from MasterCard, Visa and American Express accounts.

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