Mastercard, Idemia, and MatchMove to pilot contactless card with biometric reader in Asia

It would eliminate the need for customers to use a PIN number or signature to authorise payments.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Mastercard has teamed up with identity solutions firm Idemia and Singapore-based fintech MatchMove to pilot a biometric fingerprint card to authorise in-store payment transactions in Asia.

The card, called F.Code Easy, is embedded with a sensor to allow customers to authorise a payment using their fingerprint, instead of a PIN number or signature. The fingerprint sensor will be powered by the energy from payment terminals.

The payments giant said all biometric credentials will be stored on the card chip, rather than a central database, touting it would "enhance security and safety of contactless payments". 

"As people make a permanent move to contactless transactions, the biometric card promises more choice and greater security for consumers," Mastercard Asia Pacific executive president Matthew Driver said.

"With Mastercard's focus on digital commerce, this solution is a testament to the innovative partnerships Mastercard cultivates and its mission to provide fast, frictionless payment experiences that are protected at every point."

The pilot biometric card will be developed by Idemia and issued by MatchMove in Q4 to employees of all three companies involved in the project. Mastercard said participating employees could then use their cards for transactions and live demonstrations for customers.  

Read also: Amazon One will let you pay for purchases with nothing but a palm scan (TechRepublic)

Mastercard debuted its fingerprint sensor-embedded credit card back in 2017. Trials were initially underway in South Africa at the time, with the payments giant touting it had planned for a global rollout by the end of that year.

Credit card chips and SIM cards maker Gemalto then followed in Mastercard's footsteps the year after, launching a contactless credit card with a fingerprint reader to Bank of Cyprus customers. 

Meanwhile, over in Australia, Mastercard has partnered with EML Payments Ltd, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Transport for New South Wales to trial the Opal digital card before the end of the year.

According to a Transport for NSW spokesperson, the trial will enable customers to access the Opal digital card via their digital wallet on their smartphone or watch, and use it to tap on and off each time they travel on the Opal transport network, in place of a physical Opal card.

As part of the trial, up to 10,000 Adult Opal customers will have access to the digital version of the Opal card.

"The Opal digital card will also have the ability to be used on private modes of transport, making it even easier for customers to use Opal for their transport needs," the Transport for NSW spokesperson said.

"Mastercard demonstrated that with its global experience in developing digital payment technology, they are well-placed to offer the best solution and most competitive price to support Transport for NSW's requirements."  

In other banking news, Macquarie said it is now allowing customers to personalise their digital security settings, including choosing to approve or deny when a login attempt is being made to their account.

Available through the bank's verification app, Macquarie Authenticator, the new security features allow customers to choose between three levels of digital banking authentication.

This includes standard security where additional verification is only required on changes to sensitive account details and certain financial transactions, enhanced security when verification is required on all attempted logins except trusted devices, and ultimate security where all attempted logins from trusted and unknown devices require additional verification.

"We're empowering our customers to choose enhanced security options, giving them extra peace of mind with an intuitive push alert from the Macquarie Authenticator app, whenever a login is attempted to their accounts," Macquarie's banking and financial services group head of personal banking Ben Perham said.

Mastercard takes a stance against climate change

Earlier this week, Mastercard announced the launch of its Priceless Planet Coalition in Australia that is designed to bring together local organisations -- together with forestry experts Conservation International (CI) and World Resources Institute (WRI) -- to collectively plant 100 million trees over five years.

Members of the coalition include Barclays Bank US, Berkshire Bank, BMO Financial Group, Hawaiian Airlines, Scotiabank, to name a few, as well as Australia's Archa and 1derful. 

Mastercard has named Australia, Brazil, and Kenya as the selected locations for its forest restoration project. Beyond these initial locations, the project portfolio will be expanded to include other locations that meet "established criteria", the company said.

"In Australia, through the Priceless Planet Coalition, Mastercard is empowering its network of partners and consumers who share its commitment to being a force for good in the world to unite in action and create exponential impact for the environment. Mastercard welcomes all Australian organisations, big or small, to get involved," Mastercard Australasia division president Richard Wormald said.  

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