Fraud statistics are shocking. In the United States, 46% of credit card holders have been a victim of fraud within the past five years. The Nilson Report estimates that worldwide losses were more than the equivalent of US$24 billion during 2016. This figure was an increase of 12% from the previous year.

Card-not-present transactions are still very vulnerable to fraud; however, transactions, where the customer presents the physical card in order to make a purchase, are getting a new boost in security through biometrics.


What are biometrics?

Biometrics are the physical characteristics of a person. They can be used in order to more accurately identify the person. Biometrics includes DNA, facial features, and a person's voice pattern. The most commonly used data for biometric identification is a person's fingerprints.


Biometrics Used For Credit or Debit Card Identification

By using the thumbprint of a person, it is much easier to identify that person and to determine if a card being presented for a transaction is a card of that exact person. Only people whose thumbprints are associated with a specific card are able to use it to buy something. This biometric identification defeats any attempts to use fake identification in support of a fraudulent transaction.


Criminals became very good at producing counterfeit cards and fake IDs to use for unauthorized transactions. The new embedded EMV chip in cards makes counterfeiting cards almost impossible. Adding biometric identification capabilities to the card and scanning for a biometric match before a transaction is authorized, makes using false identification nearly impossible.


MasterCard Biometric Card Prototype Test

MasterCard just announced (April 20, 2017) the results of its testing of a biometric bankcard with an embedded fingerprint reader. The biometric MasterCard has been tested in South Africa and will be tested in Asia and Europe over the next few months. The expected global roll-out of the new biometric card will happen before the end of 2017.


The new bank cards work by inserting the card into a point-of-sale (POS) terminal and placing the thumb on a biometric reader embedded in the card itself. If the thumbprints cannot be identified, for example, if the thumb is too dirty, the card user can enter their pin instead. The cards will be available through card issuers that choose to offer them to their customers.

Consumer acceptance of the concept of the biometric card is very high because there is already a trust relationship between the consumer and the card issuers since the card issuers already know all the consumer’s financial details and personal identification information. Consumers have a high degree of fear regarding theft or loss of their bankcard because they know it may take months to straighten out the problem if their bankcard is stolen and used for fraudulent transactions.


For those who want added security, the biometric bankcard is a very desirable. Consumers will have to go to the bank that issues their card to get a new biometric card and register their thumbprint. For many, this slight inconvenience is worth doing to have the complete confidence that no unauthorized person can use the bankcard in person for a fraudulent transaction. ClearPay Wisconsin always stays on top of the newest technological innovations in the industry. Contact ClearPay Wisconsin today for a consultation about the specific needs of your business and to learn more about the biometric bank cards.