Mastercard Pioneers Remote Biometric Card Enrollment

Mastercard unveiled a technology advancement for its biometric cards. With biometrics representing the next generation in securing payments, Mastercard developed a way for people to easily and conveniently register their fingerprint onto the biometric card in the comfort of their home.

Mastercard is on a mission to eliminate the use of passwords and recognize people by “what they are” instead of “what they know” through biometrics like fingerprints, facial recognition and iris scans. Advances in technology are making biometric payment a reality, and through significant research and development, a revolutionary battery-powered sleeve will now let people self-enroll their contact or contactless biometric card. Their fingerprint is scanned by the sensor on the card and an encrypted digital template is created and securely stored.

“Making life safer and simpler for consumers is the cornerstone of our efforts around biometrics and comes through the use of some incredibly sophisticated technology,” said Bob Reany, executive vice president of identity solutions at Mastercard. “People love the security our biometric card delivers because we put their needs first. The card draws power from the payment terminal so it can be used anywhere, we use a flexible biometric scanner so it’s more durable, and now we have a sleeve to register fingerprints so people don’t have to make a trip to a bank branch.”

Simplifying the registration process will help speed adoption of biometrics by issuers and consumers alike. The solution is a cost-effective way for issuers to deliver biometric cards at scale without requiring additional infrastructure in branches. With the biometric card, consumers get a secure experience they love and can use at any EMV terminal either by contact or contactless payment. Issuers benefit from improved fraud detection and prevention, approval rates and customer loyalty. And, for merchants, the biometric card works with existing EMV card terminals so there is no additional cost or burden.

In 2017, Mastercard was the first to introduce biometric cards that combine chip technology with fingerprints to securely verify the cardholder’s identity for in-store purposes – all without requiring an internal battery. When shopping and paying in-store, the biometric card works like any other card at EMV card terminals globally. The cardholder simply places their finger on the embedded sensor and either dips or taps the card as normal. Powered by the terminal itself, the fingerprint is verified against the template and – if the biometrics match – the transaction can then be approved with the card never leaving the consumer’s hand.