We have contactless cards, but now Mastercard are bringing us cards with fingerprint sensors. This may well be a breakthrough for security in terms of purchasing in stores.
The days of inputting your card pin are well on their way out. We already have contactless cards, as well as the likes of Apple pay. All it takes is a simple hover over the card machine and your transaction is done. Apple play requires a fingerprint at least, but contactless cards impose a potential security threat. Although they’re generally limited to a maximum of £30 spend at a time, no need for a pin means anyone could use it.
Mastercard plan to change this, and are implementing a fingerprint sensor technology to their cards, following two successful trials in South Africa. Similar to Apple pay, users must have their fingerprint over the sensor in order to make a contactless payment. Everybody’s fingerprint is unique, so nobody else can easily use your card this way.
While it’s a sensible use for the biometric technology, it’s not impossible to compromise a fingerprint scanner. All an identity thief would need is a piece of glass or something that you’ve touched in the past to replicate your fingerprint. Also, once this information is stolen you only have 9 more fingers to use before you’re out of options.
It would be extremely difficult to have this kind of information stolen though, so it’s worth it. Fail safes would be put in place too. For example, a stolen card can easily be deactivated, meaning the fingerprint wouldn’t work on that card anymore.
The technology works anywhere that a chip and PIN card works, meaning there’s no need for unique scanners. Great news for everybody.