RINGS, SELFIES AND FINGERPRINTS: Mastercard wants to kill PINs from next year

Kerv contactless payment ring. (Source: Kerv)

Credit and debit card provider Mastercard is well on its way to discarding passcodes or PINs for security, as it seeks to bring biometric and wearable solutions to Australia next year.

The company cited University of Oxford research that 93% of consumers preferred to use biometrics – like fingerprint and face identification – to traditional passwords, but that only 36% of banking execs felt prepared to develop such technologies.

Mastercard Australasia president Richard Wormald said that this is where card providers like his company could come in, having the time and resources to research new solutions to old problems.

“We’re working with a number of the major banks at the moment to pilot the contactless biometric card,” he told Business Insider.

The biometric cards have a small fingerprint reader on the top right, which is used to authorise transactions while payment machines still read the account in the same way as traditional cards – by chip insertion or a contactless wave.

Mastercard biometric fingerprint card. (Source: supplied)

Wormald also said a finger ring capable of contactless payments, named Kerv, is already in pilot with one major Australian bank.

“It’s almost replaced my voice, getting out to buy a coffee or lunch. It has no battery and is so convenient to use,” he said.

The company already has its Identity Check Mobile app running in 14 countries, which allows customers to use fingerprints or “selfie” facial recognition for authentication before online purchases. In Australia, negotiations are still taking place with banks to roll out the app.

While Wormald declined to specify precise launch times, he told Business Insider that all three technologies were not too far away.

“I think through the course of 2018, you will see launches in a number of these areas in Australia.”

With customers eager to dump PINs and such replacement innovations on the horizon, Mastercard and the University of Oxford have developed a framework for the use of biometrics financial services, which they hope will be adopted industry-wide for a standardised approach.

“We see that wearables will be a growing category of payments in the next few years. In all these use-cases, the important thing is really to protect and learn and see what consumers enjoy using,” said Wormald.

How the Mastercard biometric card works. (Source: supplied)