Mastercard Talks With UK Banks About Biometric Technology

Mastercard is currently exploring the possibility of testing its fingerprint-scanning cards in the United Kingdom, as the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) prepared to battle with financial fraud.

The biometric card of Mastercard is currently under trial in South Africa. It combines chip technology with a fingerprint scanner that is located on the top right corner of the card to verify the identity of the cardholder when making purchases online or in-store.

A Mastercard spokesperson said that the company is in negotiations with all of its banking partners to observe if those trials can soon expand to the United Kingdom. While nothing is on the immediate horizon yet, the spokesperson said that they are ready for a pilot and that they would love one to happen.

The card issuer has anticipated that 1 in 4 online sales will need identity authentication in order to complete a transaction once the regulation comes into force in 2019, an increase from only 1-2 percent of transactions in the present situation.

PSD2 will be requiring more everyday transactions to be subject to two-factor authentication that usually involve a mobile phone of a user or a scan of their fingerprint or face, on top of the usual password that is required to secure payments.

It will also apply more checks to contactless payments, that will ask the user to enter their PIN (or in the newer cases, make use of their fingerprint) to verify every fifth transaction that are made on the card.

The president of global enterprise risk and security at Mastercard, Ajay Bhalla, stated: “The use of passwords to authenticate someone is woefully outdated, with consumers forgetting them and retailers facing abandoned shopping baskets.

He added: “In payments technology this is something we’re closing in on as we move from cash to card, password to thumbprint, and beyond to innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence. It’s far easier to authenticate with a thumbprint or a selfie, and it’s safer too.”