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Mastercard Unveils Remote Biometric Enrollment

Forget passwords and other traditional methods of account verification. Biometrics are the next frontier in security; that is, using a person's unique physical traits to confirm identity.

In the credit card space, Mastercard was the first to introduce biometric credit cards that employ chip technology, coupled with fingerprint scanning, to verify a cardholder's identity for in-store purchases. Now, Mastercard has unveiled a new technology that allows users to register their fingerprints with a biometric card from the comfort of their own homes.

Instead of going to a bank branch, users can take advantage of a new battery-powered sleeve created by Mastercard that lets people self-enroll their biometric card. The sleeve has a sensor that can scan the fingerprint and store it on an encrypted digital template.

When users pay for an item in the store, they simply place their finger on the embedded sensors on the card while dipping or taping it as usual. If the fingerprint matches the encrypted template, the transaction is approved.

"People love the security our biometric card delivers because we put their needs first," says Bob Reany, executive vice president of identity solutions at Mastercard. "The card draws power from the payment terminal so it can be used anywhere, we use a flexible biometric scanner so it's more durable, and now we have a sleeve to register fingerprints so people don't have to make a trip to a bank branch."

It's also a win for Mastercard because it's more cost-effective than having to create infrastructure for registering biometric cards at bank branches. Mastercard says the biometric card is compatible with existing EMV terminals, so merchants face no additional burden.


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