Mastercard to add fingerprint readers to debit and credit cards early next year

In this era of Apple Pay, it has been reported that Mastercard are attempting to keep physical payment cards relevant with the addition of embedded fingerprint readers.

A report from CNET details that these new cards will draw power from existing terminals and no hardware or software modifications will need to be made for the technology to succeed:

No need for a PIN or signature or a new payment terminal. No need for batteries in the card either, since the card can harvest power from existing terminals. Also, the new cards are just as thin as existing plastic cards.

But will the cards be as simple and as secure as Apple Pay? It seems unlikely. Cardholders will be required to visit a bank to have their fingerprint read and the card company will encrypt this data into the chip on the card. This requires a third party to access your fingerprint data unlike Apple Pay, which does not even give iOS access to it when Touch ID is used. Instead, Apple sends a query to the Secure Enclave network who will respond with a simple yes or no to whether or not you can pay.

Another downfall comes with the fact that the first version of these cards will not be contactless but Mastercard have said they are continuing work on a contactless version. Two pilots of this tech have already been carried out in South Africa and further trials will follow in Europe and Asia. These cards are expected to launch in the U.S. sometime early next year.

About the Author

Helen is a Digital Copywriter at Precise English, a copywriting and marketing agency based in the UK.