South Africans will be the first in the world to use biometric credit cards.
Mastercard will introduce the technology by the end of the year‚ allowing consumers to pay with a combination of a chip in the card and a fingerprint.
“Authenticating a payment transaction biometrically — in this instance via a fingerprint — confirms in a very unique way that the person using the card is the genuine cardholder‚” Mastercard said on Thursday.
The full-scale South African rollout follows two recent trials with employees at Pick n Pay and Absa.
Consumers’ fingerprints will be stored on the credit card. When it’s time to pay‚ cardholders will “dip” the card into a retailer’s terminal while placing their finger on the embedded sensor.
The fingerprint will then be verified and‚ if the biometrics match‚ the transaction will be approved without the card leaving the consumer’s hand.
Said Mastercard: “For issuers‚ the technology helps detect and prevent fraud‚ increase approval rates‚ reduce operational costs and foster customer loyalty.
“Additionally‚ a future version of the card will feature contactless technology‚ adding to the simplicity and convenience at checkout.”