The company (Visa), which backs credit, debit and prepaid cards, has started pilot tests of cards that have a built-in fingerprint reader. Users place their finger on the sensor area and either insert the card’s chip into a reader or hold it above a payment terminal.
By using their fingerprint, customers can skip having to enter a PIN or signing off on a purchase.
A user’s fingerprint is compared against a previously registered pattern, which is stored as a cryptogram on the card. A red or green light on the card indicates whether the fingerprints match.
“The card is trained to use your biometric thumbprint and since your thumbprint is unique, it can only be activated by the individual that’s trained the card,” said Matt Smith, vice president of platform strategy at Visa. For those who share their card with others, transactions would revert to PIN number, or pen and signature for processing.