PURCHASE, N.Y.—Mastercard is implementing biometrics for card payments, with plans to go live by April 2019.
The company said that all consumers will be able to identify themselves with biometrics, such as fingerprints or facial recognition whenever they pay in stores with Mastercard. Biometric options will also be implemented for all contactless transactions made at terminals with a mobile device.
In practice, that means that banks issuing Mastercard-branded cards will have to be able to offer biometric authentication for remote transactions, alongside existing PIN and password verification, reported Infosecurity Magazine.
The increased availability of biometric capabilities on tablets and smartphones – like Apple’s FaceID – and the EU’s new regulatory requirements for strong authentication are driving Mastercard’s move, Infosecurity Magazine reported.
“Biometric technologies perfectly meet the public’s expectation for state-of-the-art security when making a payment,” said Mark Barnett, president, Mastercard U.K. & Ireland. “This will be of great benefit to everyone: consumers, retailers and banks. It will make the purchase much smoother, and instead of having to remember passwords to authenticate, shoppers will have the chance to use a fingerprint or a picture of themselves.”
The vast majority of consumers – 93% –prefer biometrics over passwords for validating payments, according to a research paper conducted by Oxford University in collaboration with Mastercard. It also found that 92% of banking professionals want to adopt biometric solutions, Infosecurity Magazine said.
Mastercard’s move follows Visa’s announcement last month that it will start a small-scale trial of payment cards with built-in fingerprint scanners, with a credit union being one of the two financial institutions participating in the trial. Visa earlier announced that effective in April 2018 it will eliminate the need for signatures with EMV chip or contactless payments.