Mastercard Readies Biometrics for Cards By April 2019

January 30, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Biometric ID has a tendency to split opinions in most any sizable group. Some think it’s great to be able to have your password with you wherever you go and make it next to impossible to hack outside of some impressively sci-fi measures. Others think it’s a slippery slope to much worse phenomena. No matter what your stance, Mastercard is about to have it ready for every user, not just early adopters with smartphones.

Essentially, reports note, Mastercard is putting a lot of the onus for this development on individual banks, who—if they’re issuing Mastercard-branded cards—will need to offer biometric authentication as an option for remote transactions. That’s in addition to current password and PIN combinations.

That’s good news for consumers, who prefer biometrics by a wide margin. Ninety-three percent of consumers prefer biometrics to passwords in payments, said an Oxford University study, and 92 percent of banking professionals felt similarly. That huge majority is actively interested in bringing in biometric security measures, a point that will likely help further adoption prospects.

Mastercard UK and Ireland president Mark Barnett noted “Biometric technologies perfectly meet the public’s expectation for state-of-the-art security when making a payment. 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.”

With biometric options not only increasingly possible thanks to things like Apple’s FaceID developments but also increasingly required by things like the EU’s new demands for “strong authentication”, Mastercard’s move makes its share of sense. When customers want it, and banks seem particularly interested, Mastercard’s plan to roll out new biometrics requirements is reasonable enough. I’ve always had a personal fondness for this; I’ve seen more than enough people, me included sometimes, forget that username / password combination or see it do so little in the face of a hacking it might as well not be there.

Though not everyone trusts it, biometric security can be a great addition to an overall lineup. Mastercard’s move to put it more in play just cements the point a bit further.