Credit card security is as relevant as ever with increasing technological advances from scammers using combinations of phishing, theft, and card skimming posing a real threat. To combat this, MasterCard have revealed a new fingerprint sensor that enabled users to verify transactions with a scan of a digit.
That means that the cards will be secured for fingerprint only access even where separate technology is not available (like in most stores); previously securing cards with fingerprint scanning required another sensor apart from the standard card reader needed to be in place at the merchant’s point of sale. The new innovation from MasterCard is more convenient, in that it only requires the user to scan their fingerprint without the need for a separate device – similar to what is possible with phone-enabled point-of-sale payment systems that are already on the market.
The new system from MasterCard has passed two trial runs in South Africa. While the usefulness of the system is obvious, there are some limitations to the innovation. Of course, online transactions will still require more controls.
Furthermore, as the chief scientist at Security Research Labs (Berlin) explained, there are other concerns. According to to Karsten Nohl: “All I need is a glass or something you have touched in the past,” and “you only have nine fingerprint changes before you run out of options.”
That being said, he described it as “better than what we have at the moment. With the combination of chip and PIN, the PIN is the weaker element. Using a fingerprint gets rid of that. Fingerprints have helped us avoid using terrible passwords, and even the most gullible person is not going to cut off their finger if [a criminal] asks nicely.”
So there is much to be excited about. As Ajay Bhalla (chief of security at MasterCard) said, this innovation will work “to deliver additional convenience and security. It is not something that can be taken or replicated.”
More information can be found at: BBC.