MasterCard has partnered with Zwipe to launch the world’s first first biometric contactless payment card. The payment card uses NFC and comes with an integrated fingerprint sensor. The new product is introduced as an answer to the complex challenge of providing a fast, convenient payment solution that does not compromise on security. Interestingly, the new contactless card comes at a time when new payment services like Apple Pay are trying to take payment cards out of the equation.
Zwipe’s secure biometric authentication technology holds the cardholder’s biometric data. The card contains an EMV certified secure element and MasterCard’s contactless application. The fingerprint data is stored directly on the card and not in an external database. After activation by a fingerprint scan, the Zwipe MasterCard card can be used to make a contactless payment.
Here is an illustration of the new payment card:
The card is the first of its kind to combine both the security of biometric authentication and the speed & convenience of contactless payments. The use of biometric authentication instead of PIN entry enables cardholders to make payments of any amount, unlike other contactless payment cards in the market. Zwipe is also working on the next generation of its card that will be the same format as a standard card. Such cards would be designed to work with all payment terminals and is set to release in 2015. The new card will harvest energy from the payment terminals without the need for a battery.
On the launch of the new payment card, Ajay Bhalla, President of Enterprise Security Solutions at MasterCard commented “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. However, our challenge is to ensure the technology offers robust security, simplicity of use and convenience for the customer. We will continue to work with innovators, like Zwipe, to ensure we stay ahead of fraudsters and provide a seamless payment experience, as ultimately it is consumers who decide how they choose to pay.”
Kim Humborstad, founder and CEO of Zwipe, said: “Feedback from our pilot with Sparebanken DIN has been very positive. Cardholders love how easy the card is to use with the added security feature. We have also had exceptionally good feedback from retailers participating in the pilot. This pilot enabled the partners to gather valuable customer feedback, experience and best practices for the enrollment and deployment phase.”
We can surely expect other payment card brands like Visa, american express and Discover to take note of this new product and try to adopt it.