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Mastercard introduces a credit card with a built-in fingerprint reader

Mastercard has rolled out a credit card that has an integrated fingerprint scanner, making it easier to authenticate purchases at retail stores. The card stores two fingerprints, and features an embedded sensor that lets you authorize payments instead of having to sign or use a PIN.

To get started, you'll have to register your fingerprints at your bank, after which the information will be converted to a "encrypted digital template" that will be stored on the card. Mastercard's biometric cards are just as thin as existing credit cards, and will work with current chip-and-PIN readers. You'll be able to authenticate purchases by placing your finger on the integrated biometric sensor, and the cards don't have require any batteries as they source power from the payment terminals.

Mastercard is trialling the cards in South Africa right now, and has mentioned that additional trials will be conducted in the Asia Pacific region and select markets in Europe in the coming months. A wide rollout is slated for the end of the year, although customers in the U.S. will have to wait until early 2018 to get their fingers on the biometric card.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Harish Jonnalagadda

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor covering Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone manufacturers, and writes about the semiconductor industry, storage servers, and audio products. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

31 Comments
  • Wonder if there will be a PIN backup option. For example, if my hands are dirty, or wet, the fingerprint sensor on my phone's often won't recognize my prints, prompting me to use my PIN or pattern instead. If the card doesn't recognize your print, can you just use your PIN at the terminal or sign?
  • Wouldn't that completely defeat the intended extra security? What good is a fingerprint sensor (beyond possibly convenience) if the old-fashioned security methods are just as acceptable as the biometric option?
  • Did you read what he said?
  • Wash your hands you nasty basтard !
  • LOL. I'm talking about when I'm working outside, doing yard work, working on my Harley, etc...
  • And you need to use your card during any of those times?
  • Yes. Yes I do.
  • Or, the hand is in a cast.
  • You register one finger from each hand, Your allowed 2 prints. So that fixes that.
  • This is great for when your kids or wife or anyone trys to use your card at the store. They don't know the pin and can't watch you put it in on other occasions.
    Also confirmed purchases using biometrics​ means YOU are making the purchase and not someone else.
  • You play in the mud at many stores? lol
  • Apparently so, then uses his grimy, messy hands to pull out his wallet and then grab his mastercard and then stick it in the terminal and then grab his purchase -____-
  • Ever been in the middle of hardworking or repairing a motorcycle, car, truck and have to make a quick run to Lowe's or AutoZone for supplies? Sometimes your hands are still dirty. Ever tried to get dried paint off your hands? Especially enamel paint, you can't just wash your hands.
  • Nitrile gloves, dude, nitrile gloves. Paint won't be a problem.
  • Then my hands get all sweaty and my fingertips prune up. Fingerprint reader won't work.
  • I don't think it's extra security so much as convenience.
  • It's only a matter of time before Visa follows suit.
  • 1) How would this work at say, a restaurant where they take your card from you and run it at their register away from your table.
    2) With the above still happening, it STILL doesn't stop some jerk from writing down all the information off of the card and making online purchases. If there were only a way possibly do something similar to this for displaying the card number on the card. I have no clue how many times I've had my card info written down by some waiter/waitress and a couple of days later found that they purchased some crap using Paypal or something else. Right now it seems like the primary problems with credit cards are skimming, and people writing down the numbers.
  • You guys really need to join the rest of us in the 21st century, implement some proper card security and not allow people to carry your unsecured card out of your sight.
  • Couldn't agree more. I really wish more restaurants would bring a card reader to the table when it's time to settle the bill.
  • Pretty much every restaurant in the UK brings the reader to the table. Is not the case elsewhere?
  • Hah, I almost edited my comment to add "In the US, that is. I know that's common elsewhere." In the US, I've had the server bring the card reader to the table maybe twice ever. Here, it's most common to give the card to the server, the server runs the car in the back, and then brings the charge slip for you to add gratuity and sign. It's not very efficient or secure.
  • The one chain restaurant I've seen implement this is Olive Garden. At least here, every table has a wireless terminal that includes a card reader. Don't know if all of them have it yet.
  • Canada too. It's been years since my card had been taken away from the table. Either a wireless card reader at the table, or I pay at a counter near the entrance.
  • It's an expensive proposition in greater SEA, what with terminals costing anywhere from USD 500 upwards each.
  • It might function like some of the digital cards of today. I have the card coin and once you unlock it, you have a certain amount of time before it locks you out again.
  • 1) I don't know the last time wait staff needed to take my card away from the table. There are these things called wireless terminals that they bring with them to make the payment at the table.
    2) Related to 1) above, there's no opportunity for anyone to write down such info without robbing you first and stealing your card. All purchases can be done under your direct supervision and with you handling your card. You must be frequenting restaurants that are still living in the 20th century. In that case I suggest you accompany the wait staff to make the payment. There's no reason they should ever have to touch your card.
  • What country do you live in? Here in the United States, no one ever brings the card reader to a table. It blew my mind when I traveled elsewhere and they brought the card reader to the table. Don't know why we don't do it here, because wireless card readers are definitely a thing. But yeah, in the US, there's no legislation or anything that requires it, so companies aren't going to do it. Which is annoying.
  • At the Red Robin around here in WA, they have a wireless card reader that they bring around. So it's not unheard of in the US.
  • Samsung pay works really well I rarely have to swipe a card
  • Couldn't agree more! I've been using Samsung Pay and find the combination of security, convenience and Samsung rewards to be an unbeatable combination. It's only failed to work once where the merchant had a very antiquated terminal.