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Gemalto launches a new contactless credit card with a fingerprint reader

The new biometric-powered contactless cards use fingerprint recognition to authenticate the cardholder, in an effort to cut down on in-store fraud.

(Image: supplied/Gemalto)

Credit cards with fingerprint sensors are so very 2017. Now, it's all about the contactless credit card with fingerprint sensors.

Gemalto, which makes credit card chips and SIM cards, has claimed its stake to being first in the industry to offer a biometric-powered credit card with a contactless technology.

Anyone using the new card will be able to point and tap a contactless credit card terminal and authenticate a payment using their fingerprint in a matter of seconds, instead of having to remember a PIN code.

The security benefit is that nobody other than the cardholder can make transactions.

You're probably thinking: Haven't we heard this all before? And you'd be right to a degree. Mastercard last year announced a credit card that introduced biometrics in an effort to cut down on in-store fraud. And, one proposed credit card design even had a changing card verification code that would make it almost impossible to use online -- unless it's stolen.

Here's how Gemalto's new card works.

Gemalto said users of the new card, currently limited to Bank of Cyprus customers for now, will have to enroll their fingerprint at a local branch. A fingerprint template is captured and stored during that enrollment process and is stored on the card. When a customer places their fingerprint on the credit card sensor in a store, a comparison is performed between the enrolled fingerprint and the reference data stored in the card.

Gemalto said that the card doesn't require an embedded battery, as the biometric sensor is powered by the contactless payment terminal.

And because the card is built on existing standards, merchants will be able to use their existing contactless card terminals.

Gemalto senior vice-president Paul Kobos told ZDNet that a wider rollout of the contactless credit card is expected later this year, or in early 2019.

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