MasterCard has unveiled a new payment card with in-built biometric technology.

The new card combines the existing chip technology with fingerprint sensors, to make in-store payments more convenient and secured.

The announcement follows two successful trials conducted in South Africa, with Pick n Pay and Absa Bank (a subsidiary of Barclays Africa).

“Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics,” said Ajay Bhalla, President of Enterprise Risk and Security at MasterCard.

“Whether unlocking a smart phone 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,” he added.

Biometric Card 2
Payment using the fingerprint authentication during the trial (Photo credit: MasterCard)

How It Works

A cardholder registers with their bank to enrol their card.

Upon registration, their fingerprint will be converted into an encrypted digital template which is stored on the card.

The card can then be used at any EMV card terminal globally.

The biometric card works like already known chip payment cards, especially when shopping and paying in-store.

The cardholder slots in their card into the retailer’s terminal, placing their finger on the embedded fingerprint sensor.

The fingerprint is verified against the digital template to match the biometrics. If successful, the cardholder is authenticated and the transaction will be approved with the card never leaving the owner’s hand.


The biometric authentication ensures only the cardholder can use the card.

Merchants can easily enhance customers’ shopping experience, as the card works with the existing EMV terminal infrastructure; without a need for hardware or software upgrades.

The technology provides improved security features which help issuers prevent and detect fraud, easily increase rate of approval, reduce risk, and stimulate customer loyalty.

The version that combines the biometric card with contactless technology will be unveiled in the near future.

Featured image credit: