Biometric payment cards might be the future; So, how do they work?

How biometric payment cards work

(CNN) – A British bank will be the latest to test out biometric technology on a payment card.

The technology is already being tested in markets worldwide, including South Africa, the Middle East, Italy and in some U.S. banks. How exactly does it work?

From facial recognition software at airports and on phones to voice recognition on smart home devices, biometrics have become part of a consumer’s everyday life.

As far as payment options go, biometric technology is used for services like Apple Pay and Android Pay.

And now, Visa and Mastercard are adding biometric sensors directly to credit and debit cards.

It’s meant to make smooth transactions accessible to people without smartphones, and to increase security for payment cards.

Prototype cards feature embedded fingerprint sensors that capture and match the cardholder’s print to a digital image stored on the card – there’s no need for a signature or personal identification number (PIN).

If a fingerprint can’t be verified, the cardholder still has the option to insert or swipe the card, and then authenticate with a signature or PIN.

The fingerprint image is encrypted and stored on a card’s chip, not with the merchant. So, if the business gets hacked, the fingerprint images cannot be reverse-engineered by hackers.

And while security and ease-of-use are touted by credit card companies, getting the cards set up is cumbersome.

Unlike digital wallets stored on smartphones, customers using biometric cards must get their fingerprints registered at a bank or a physical kiosk.

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