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MasterCard, Zwipe Unveil Contactless Payment Card with Fingerprint Scanner

Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

October 20, 2014

MasterCard, Zwipe Unveil Contactless Payment Card with Fingerprint Scanner

By Clayton Hamshar
Contributing Writer

MasterCard (News - Alert) and Zwipe have officially announced the result of their partnership: the launch of the Zwipe MasterCard payment card. With an integrated fingerprint sensor, it is the world’s first biometric contactless payment card.

The card features Zwipe’s secure biometric authentication technology to ensure that the user’s biometric data, which is stored directly on the card instead of an external database, is not compromised. Its security element is fully compliant with the Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) standard.

After the user activates the card by scanning their fingerprint it can be used to make contactless payments using near field communication (NFC), thanks to integration of MasterCard’s contactless application. Biometric authentication means PIN entry and signatures are no longer necessary, and payments can be made in any amount unlike previous contactless payment solutions.

“Our belief is that we should be able to identify ourselves without having to use passwords or PIN numbers,” said 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.”

The launch of the Zwipe MasterCard payment card follows a successful live pilot over the past few months with the Norwegian bank Sparebanken DIN, which challenged card companies to develop a new payment system that is faster and more convenient without compromising security.

“Response to our pilot with Sparebanken DIN has been very positive, commented Kim Humborstad, founder and CEO of Zwipe. “Cardholders love how easy the card is to use with the added security feature. We have also had exceptionally good reaction from retailers participating in the pilot. This pilot enabled the partners to gather valuable customer feedback, experience and best practice for the enrolment and deployment phase.”

“We will offer biometric authentication and contactless communication for all our cards since it combines convenience and security for both our cardholders and merchants” said Morten Danielsen, Business Development Director at Sparebanken DIN.

Zwipe is already working on a new version for next year, which will be in the same format as a standard card and can be accepted at all existing payment terminals. Most notably, this version will not need a battery and instead harvest power from the terminal itself. Mastercard is experimenting with different forms of biometric authentication, such as palm vein patterns and iris recognition.

The Zwipe MasterCard payment card will be available in the U.K. as early as 2015, but it is still unknown when the U.S. rollout will begin.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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