Mastercard is exploring the possibility of trialling its fingerprint-scanning cards in the UK, as the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) rears its head on financial fraud.
Currently under trial in South Africa, Mastercard's biometric card combines chip technology with a fingerprint scanner on the card's top right corner to verify the cardholder's identity when making purchases in-store or online.
A spokesperson for Mastercard said that it is in talks with all of its banking partners to see if those trials can expand to the UK soon, and while nothing is on the immediate horizon, "we're ready for a pilot and we'd love one" to happen.
The card issuer has predicted that 1 in 4 online sales will require identity authentication to complete a transaction after the regulation comes into force next year, up from just 1-2 per cent of transactions today.
PSD2 will require more everyday transactions to be subject to two-factor authentication, usually involving a user's mobile phone or a scan of their face or fingerprint, on top of the usual password to secure payments.
It will also apply further checks to contactless payments, asking the user to enter their PIN (or in newer cases, use their fingerprint) to verify every fifth transaction made on the card.
Ajay Bhalla, president of global enterprise risk and security at Mastercard, said:
"The use of passwords to authenticate someone is woefully outdated, with consumers forgetting them and retailers facing abandoned shopping baskets.
"In payments technology this is something we’re closing in on as we move from cash to card, password to thumbprint, and beyond to innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence. It’s far easier to authenticate with a thumbprint or a selfie, and it’s safer too."