Mastercard has launched a biometric card that uses fingerprints to enable purchases, revealing that it had been piloting the card, a global first for the company, in SA. "When we heard about the innovation at a global level, we thought it would be relevant to our customers here. There is also an understanding in SA of the value of biometrics," said Mark Elliott, head of Mastercard in the country. The South African Social Security Agency has used biometric cards to distribute grants since 2012. Building on the fingerprint scanning technology used in mobile payments, Mastercard’s biometric card stores an encrypted digital template of the user’s fingerprint. Cardholders insert the card into a retailer’s terminal and place their finger on the embedded sensor, which verifies the fingerprint and authenticates the transaction.

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