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Mastercard cards with fingerprint scanner
May 16, 2017, 11:49 am

Mobile payments have made buying things with your fingerprint commonplace; Mastercard has now got into the game by including a fingerprint scanner at the bottom of its credit cards.

The scanner embedded Mastercard will allow users to authorize payment with a touch, rather than using a PIN or signature

The new card is no thicker than a normal one and will work with all existing chip-and-PIN readers (no magnetic stripe-only terminals), and is currently being trialed in South Africa. Additional trials are planned for Europe and the Asia-Pacific region in coming months, with a full roll out expected later this year.

In a press release, Mastercard’s chief of security Ajay Bhalla said the card would offer customers “additional convenience and security.” However, his claim that a fingerprint is “not something that can be taken or replicated” is just wrong, as we have found out with fingerprint scanners on phones. Criminals can easily steal and fake someone’s fingerprint with even something as simple as dental mold and a bit of play-dough. Moreover, once someone has your fingerprint, you cannot do anything to change it like you would with a password or PIN.

Nevertheless, security experts say a fingerprint might still be better than a PIN. “With the combination of chip and PIN, the PIN is the weaker element. Using a fingerprint gets rid of that and also helps us avoid those terribly weak passwords.

To get one of the new cards, customers will have to visit an enrollment center, such as a bank, where their fingerprint will be scanned and transferred onto their card. It will be stored as encrypted data on the card’s EMV chip, and users will be able to save up to two prints (although you cannot put a print from someone else’s hand on there.

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