Mastercard To Launch Thumbprint-Reading Bank Card

Mastercard has announced that it is bringing a thumbprint-reading card to the UK, which it hopes will improve card security and do away with PINs.

Thumbprint-reading bank card

The card has been developed in conjunction with a Norwegian firm, Zwipe, and lets cardholders pay for goods and services in store once it has verified their print. A copy of the thumbprint is stored on the card, rather than on Mastercard’s servers.

In action, the system seems pretty slick, provided that it works reliably:

However, I can’t help feeling that by the time this starts to be issued to users (Mastercard is suggesting it will be available this time next year), it could be out-dated technology.

With the growing use of finger/thumb print technology, especially thanks to Apple’s TouchID, which is available on its latest iPhones and iPads, and payment systems such as, well, Apple Pay, for example, (which is due to launch tomorrow, 20th October), users might start to expect more from their payment experience.

Current payment methods aren’t particularly broken, so it’s difficult to improve on what already exists (such as entering PINs) as it’s already pretty quick and secure. However, the actions we take before and after payment could still see large improvements, for example in product/price research prior to purchase, or checking bank balances post-purchase; the smartphone can offer greater functionality for these actions than a bank card, with or without a thumb-reader.

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