MasterCard backs Zwipe fingerprint payment card

A Zwipe prototype
PROTOTYPE: Zwipe’s device will shrink to the size of a regular payment card in 2015

MasterCard has partnered with Zwipe, maker of a contactless payment card that includes an integrated fingerprint biometric sensor, for the commercial launch of the technology following a pilot with Norway’s Sparebanken DIN.

The Zwipe MasterCard stores the cardholder’s biometric template within an embedded EMV-certified secure element, rather than an online database, and replaces the PIN as a means of verifying the identity of a cardholder with a fingerprint verification.

To pay with a Zwipe MasterCard, the holder presses their thumb to the sensor on their card and then touches it to a merchant’s terminal in the same way as a standard contactless card transaction is made.

“Zwipe is now working on the next generation of its card that will be the same format as a standard card and designed to work with all payment terminals for release in 2015,” the company says. “This new card will harvest energy from the payment terminals without the need for a battery.”

A video produced by the company shows how the card will work once its next stage of engineering is complete:

“Response to our pilot with Sparebanken DIN has been very positive,” says Kim Humborstad, 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.”

“Our belief is that we should be able to identify ourselves without having to use passwords or PIN numbers,” MasterCard’s Ajay Bhalla adds. “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.”

Sparebanken DIN now plans to “offer biometric authentication and contactless communication for all our cards since it combines convenience and security for both our cardholders and merchants”, Morten Danielsen, the bank’s business development director, concludes.

Next: Visit the NFCW Expo to find new suppliers and solutions

One comment on this article

Comments are closed.