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April 20, 2017

MasterCard launches biometric card in South Africa after successful trials

By Patrick Brusnahan

MasterCard has rolled out its next generation biometric card combining chip technology with fingerprints in South Africa, after conducting successful trials.

The card is expected to help cardholders conveniently and safely authorise their identity for in-store payments.

Suitable to be used a EMV terminals across the globe, the biometric card has been released after two separate successful trails in Pick n Pay, a supermarket, and Absa Bank, a subsidiary of Barclays Africa.

In order to obtain the new biometric card, cardholders will have to register with their financial institutions, after which their fingerprint is converted into an encrypted digital template that is stored on the card. After that, the card can be used at any EMV card terminal globally.

During shopping and paying in-store, cardholders need to swipe the card into retailer’s terminal while placing their finger on the embedded sensor. Once the fingerprint is verified against the template and if the biometrics match, the cardholder is successfully authenticated and the transaction can then be approved.

MasterCard president for enterprise risk and security said: “Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics.

“Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security. It’s not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected.”

MasterCard is planning to conduct further trials in Europe and Asia Pacific in the coming months.

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