Global: Mastercard Advances Biometric Innovations for In-Person Payments

Mastercard Advances Biometric Innovations for In-Person Payments
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Mastercard is spearheading the integration of biometrics in in-store payments, marking a significant shift towards seamless interactions across various payment environments. This was highlighted in a recent episode of Mastercard’s “What’s Next In” podcast, where the focus was on the evolution of card transactions and the company’s cutting-edge payment technology.

In the podcast, host Vicki Hyman reminisces about the days of credit card imprinters, commonly known as “knuckle-busters,” prevalent in stores during the 1980s. The conversation, featuring Dennis Gamiello and Jennifer Marriner, underscores the substantial progress made in in-person payments since then.

Dennis Gamiello noted that the United States was slow to adopt contactless payments, only gaining traction at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, over two-thirds of Mastercard transactions are contactless. Jennifer Marriner highlighted that software updates to point-of-sale systems have revolutionized payment innovations, enabling merchants to integrate payments with inventory management and customer data seamlessly.

Consumer trust in contactless and other innovative payment methods is rapidly increasing. Marriner pointed out that payments for public transportation exemplify this trend, stating, “More taps, more trust, more tap, and that’s what we’re seeing.”

The conversation also touched on the growing adoption of biometric payments. In Japan’s Chiba Prefecture, face biometrics have been implemented on the Yamaman Yukarigaoka Line, demonstrating a real-world application of this technology.

Mastercard’s future plans include expanding “tap-on-phone” technology, allowing merchants to use sales assistants to speed up transactions. Additionally, Mastercard is introducing a feature enabling consumers to add payment cards to their digital wallets by tapping them on their smartphones. Merchants can also enhance security by allowing customers to tap their card to a phone holding a digital wallet.

Biometric payments are a key focus for Mastercard. The company aims to give consumers the flexibility to register their payment methods using biometrics. Alongside physical biometric modalities like palm and face recognition, behavioral biometrics are also part of Mastercard’s strategy.

Gamiello explained that biometric templates work similarly to payment data tokenization, fostering consumer trust through increased adoption and use. Mastercard plans to expand its biometric checkouts this year, with pilots already underway.

Mastercard’s Biometric Checkout Program is dedicated to setting standards for performance, user experience, and security. Rigorous testing with partners ensures the technology is robust and ready for consumer use.

The shift towards biometrics is echoed in other sectors. Wicket, a company specializing in integrating payments with digital services, highlights the potential for faster, more efficient transactions at events, particularly for age verification during alcohol purchases.

Biometric payment cards are also gaining traction. Idex Biometrics has received a production order for its integrated hardware and software solution, Idex Pay, from Taiwan’s Beautiful Card Corporation (BCC). BCC has also obtained a Letter of Approval (LoA) from Mastercard for its Idex Pay-based card, following Idex’s certification by Mastercard last year.

This wave of biometric innovations underscores Mastercard’s commitment to enhancing payment experiences, reflecting a broader trend towards integrating advanced technologies for seamless, secure transactions.

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