Mastercard commits to biometric authentication

Mastercard has revealed that all customers will be able to identify themselves through biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition, when making a purchase with Mastercard by April next year.

This means that banks issuing Mastercard payment cards will have to be able to offer biometric authentication for remote transactions, in addition to existing PIN and password verification. The switch will also apply to all contactless transactions completed at the point of sale.

Mastercard confirmed that it will be implementing the new system as “the time is ripe”, with the increased availability of biometric capabilities on tablets and smartphones, and the EU’s new regulatory requirements for verification.

Banks have reported that customers are much more likely to go through with a purchase when biometric authentication is used, according to Mastercard, with abandonment rates dropping by up to 70 per cent when other methods are used.

Mark Barnett, president of Mastercard UK & Ireland said: “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.”

This shift to biometrics is part of Mastercard’s new action plan to help banks and retailers to prevent fraud and improve the consumer experience in the new digital environment.

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