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Mastercard just took fingerprint scanning to the next level

Apple could be struggling to integrate its fingerprint scanner into the iPhone 8, but MasterCard has managed to stick one in a payment card.

The company is ensuring forgetting your PIN becomes a thing of the past, testing out new fingerprint-enabled payment cards in two successful South African trials.

MasterCard reportedly hopes to introduced the new cards to the rest of the world by the end of the year, though banks will have to sign up to use the cards so it will likely be a while before we see them being used widely.

Related: What is Android Pay?

The cards work by combining a fingerprint reader with an on-board chip that contains the digital template of the user’s fingerprint.

That makes these the first cards to combine both the template and the sensor, as previous biometric cards needed to be used with a separate reader in order to work.

Users simply insert the card into the payment console, place their finger on the pad on the corner of the card itself, and the payment will authorise.


The cards should be no thicker than a standard credit card, with Mastercard saying the added technology “helps detect and prevent fraud, increase approval rates, reduce operational costs and foster customer loyalty.”

Chief of safety and security at MasterCard, Ajay Bhalla, said: “Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics.

“Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security.

“It’s not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected.”

Mastercard says those that want to sign up when the technology becomes widely available will have to register with their bank to have their fingerprint “converted into an encrypted digital template that is stored on the card”.

The company also says it plans to introduce a contactless version of the fingerprint-enabled cards in the future.

Let us know what you think of the new technology in the comments.

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