Point of Sale Biometrics

by Sarah Grotta 0


The card networks are continuing to invest in biometrics as a PIN alternative for card payment transactions.  Voice of America (VOA) News highlighted some of Visa’s recent developments on the use of biometrics in payments:

The company (Visa), which backs credit, debit and prepaid cards, has started pilot tests of cards that have a built-in fingerprint reader. Users place their finger on the sensor area and either insert the card’s chip into a reader or hold it above a payment terminal.

By using their fingerprint, customers can skip having to enter a PIN or signing off on a purchase.

A user’s fingerprint is compared against a previously registered pattern, which is stored as a cryptogram on the card. A red or green light on the card indicates whether the fingerprints match.

“The card is trained to use your biometric thumbprint and since your thumbprint is unique, it can only be activated by the individual that’s trained the card,” said Matt Smith, vice president of platform strategy at Visa. For those who share their card with others, transactions would revert to PIN number, or pen and signature for processing. 

It is interesting that biometrics at the point of sale are just now getting attention and being deployed by early adopters.  Now defunct company Pay By Touch, was offering solutions to pay with fingerprint biometrics back in 2005/2006.  Perhaps it will catch on this time as consumer attitudes have changed, and as merchants find value in the security and convenience of biometrics.

Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit and Alternative Products Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

Read the quoted story here

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