MasterCard is adding a fingerprint sensor to its payment cards as an effort to fight fraud.
This will make PIN numbers and signatures obsolete.
When the swipe to pay system was introduced, we were all wowed! It was an invention that not many of us saw coming. We welcomed the new innovation and since then, our lives have changed for the better.
Before long, fraud happened and some were left cursing and wishing someone would come to save us. Turns out that MasterCard got the memo. The latest innovation of adding a fingerprint sensor hopes to fight in-store fraud.
The card is currently under trial in South Africa. The company says that more trials will be conducted over the next couple of months with a full roll-out expected later this year.
It gets better:
The technology only requires users to place their fingers over the sensor when making payments. Nothing confusing here.
The giant credit card provider has confirmed that not all store owners will be forced to buy a new hardware as the new innovation does not affect the compatibility with all of them. It may not be compatible with older magnetic stripe-only terminals.
MasterCard chief of safety and security Ajay Bhalla said that the fingerprint sensor technology will help to deliver additional security and convenience. He added that the technology cannot be easily replicated or stolen.
So, how safe is safe?
Bhalla was quoted saying that the fingerprint technology is “not something that can be taken or replicated”
That’s not true.
Thieves can definitely exploit this flaw although the possibility is often downplayed by most companies. Not that we would expect them to admit the level of vulnerability.
The idea is to reduce fraud not to completely stop it. No one, even MasterCard, should front the idea as the end of in-store card-based theft.
Fingerprint sensors have been compromised in the past. In 2014, it was reported that a fingerprint sensor of Samsung Galaxy S5 handset had been hacked barely a week after its’ launch. Also, that of iPhone 5s was compromised days after it was released into the market.
The company is yet to come out and talk about the company’s plans to prevent online fraud: if that plan is on their to-do list.
So, is Kenya on the list of target markets?
No word yet on if and when the card with the fingerprint embedded on them will be rolled out into the Kenyan market. We hope so because this will eliminate queer habits displayed by Kenyans when inputting their PINS: especially that suspicious look that elder women give when and after inputting their pin. It takes some level of restraint because I’m pretty sure most of us have been on the verge of being rude.
MasterCard Rewarding Kenyans
Since last year, MasterCard has been rewarding lucky Kenyans who use the company’s payment cards to pay for goods. This is seen as an effort to popularize the payment solution and to also encourage more Kenyans to adopt it.
Local celebrities such as Avril, Sauti Sol, Eric Omondi, and Churchill have been rewarding lucky shoppers in various supermarkets.