Today, Zwipe AS and MasterCard announced the launch of the world’s very first contactless payment card with embedded fingerprint biometrics. Combining on-device biometric authentication with the convenience of a contactless credit card, the new solution allows for a purchase of any amount to be made without the entry of a PIN, something that has never before been offered by a payment card.
The Zwipe MasterCard payment card recently completed a pilot in Norway’s Sparebanken DIN, aligned to the Eika Group. Due to the pilot’s success, the new biometric payment solution is slated for release in 2015 and will be compatible with all payment terminals.
“Our belief is that we should be able to identify ourselves without having to use passwords or PIN numbers,” says Ajay Bhalla, president of Enterprise Security Solutions at MasterCard. “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. Zwipe’s first trial is a significant milestone and its results are very encouraging.”
“Safety and security in everyday payments is at the heart of MasterCard’s business,” he says. “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.”
Indeed, MasterCard has been a strong supporter of strong authentication, recently going on record stating that biometric technology has played a key role in its international financial inclusion plan.
Zwipe’s CEO, Kim Humborstad, says that the feedback from Sparebanken DIN has been very positive. Users of the new card have praised the device for its convenience and security.
“We have also had exceptionally good feedback from retailers participating in the pilot,” says Humborstad. “This pilot enabled the partners to gather valuable customer feedback, experience and best practice for the enrollment and deployment phase.”
On-card fingerprint biometrics is somewhat of a specialty for Zwipe, so the company’s involvement in the new MasterCard solution is no surprise. The Zwipe Access biometric card, for example, brings the same kind of convenience, security and backwards compatibility to the physical access control market.