Biometric Card Payments on Their Way

By Jocelyn Levy | 2nd November 2020 | 7 min read

Biometrics have slowly been creeping their way into the financial world. Many people use biometric authentication to access financial apps on their phone for example – some even use them to authorise payments. In recent weeks, we’ve seen more evidence that a bigger shift towards biometric card payments solutions in banking is coming, from VISA and Mastercard no less.

Biometric card payments to remove need for signatures

While here in the UK, we stopped using signatures and started using chip and pin for debit and credit cards back in 2006, when a mandatory switch took place, the same cannot be said for the US. However, Mastercard has recently announced that signatures will no longer be a requirement for merchants and customers carrying out purchases as of April 2018. Merchants can still ask for a signature, but it is no longer a requirement. Linda Kirkpatrick, Executive Vice President of Mastercard said:

“We’re at the right point in time in the evolution of digital payments to make the change.

“Our secure network and state-of-the art systems combined with new digital payment methods that include chip, tokenization, biometrics and specialized digital platforms use newer and more secure methods to prove identity.”

In a blog post Ms Kirkpatrick said that nearly 80 per cent of transactions are made without a signature anyway, and that the company’s consumer research suggested people were ready for faster and more secure payment options in store.

A new age coming

Mastercard are showing signs they are ready to break away from the old ways of doing things and embrace new technologies. A trial of biometric credit cards in South Africa was carried out earlier this year.

And Visa are going down a similar route. The company also recently announced what it called the Visa ID Intelligence platform. It’s a set of tools, software and support for merchants to help them adopt new ways of authenticating identity using biometrics.

The big players are starting to make real strides towards a biometric payment revolution – and we can understand why. Biometrics offer solutions for authenticating identity that are fast and simple, while providing the all-important security needed in the banking industry. That’s why we use them in our solutions – biometrics provide the perfect balance between security and convenience.