Building on technology it began developing three years ago, SmartMetric Inc. says it has developed a smaller and faster fingerprint reader that fits inside of a credit card.

SmartMetric first announced it would introduce fingerprint-activated credit cards in September of 2011, enabling biometric verification in less than 60 seconds. Its new authentication method takes less than a second, the company said.

The on-card sensor matches the cardholder fingerprint scan stored inside the card. After authentication, the scan "turns the card on," SmartMetric explained in a Sept. 4 press release.

The card also includes an EMV chip, making it operable around the world, SmartMetric CEO Chaya Hendrick said in the release. "Your fingerprint never leaves your card and is not stored in a central database."

SmartMetric has started marketing its card in Europe and will soon start sales and marketing in Asia and parts of Latin America. The company will begin marketing and sales efforts in the U.S. after EMV adoption has passed 50% of card users, Hendrick said.

The company operates out of Surfside, Fla. and has offices in Buenos Aires, Argentina and New York City.

In April, SmartMetric introduced facial identification on its biometric payment cards, displaying a color image of the cardholder after successful fingerprint authentication.

The company engaged in years-long legal tussle with Visa and MasterCard over alleged smartcard technology patent infringement. Judges ruled against SmartMetric in the original case and, last month, in its appeal case.

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