Those of you wearing tinfoil hats, look away. Mastercard and Zwipe have announced the first contactless payment credit card. How you ask? It comes complete with a fingerprint scanner. So, the next time you’re mugged, the thief is gonna have to take you along for the ride.
I’m all for advancements in technology. Biometrics, driverless cars etc. Bring it on. But, isn’t this slowly looking like a version of the Minority Report? It’s hard not to step back and go maybe the conspiracy types among us are kinda on to something.
How does the system work? Well, you’ve probably seen the quick-pay stations. Just tap your card and off you go. This will stop the tap, and provide more security. Embedded on the Mastercard credit card will be a fingerprint scanner. Hold it over the contactless payment station, wait for a beep and you’re good to go.
Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security at Mastercard, released a statement. “Our belief is that we should be able to identify ourselves without having to use passwords or PIN numbers. Biometric authentication can help us achieve this.”
Exactly, let’s not have to remember too many numbers. And NSA, here’s a giant database of fingerprints. Yes, we will get the platitudes of Mastercard will not share the data etc. The NSA doesn’t really need permission, and the FISA courts rubber stamp any warrants.
One of the coolest features on the new card is the fact that it doesn’t have a battery. It harvests energy from the payment terminals, so it will look like any credit card in your wallet. For now, the device will be in Europe, with no word on U.S. availability.
On Monday, iOS 8 users will get to try their hand at Apple Pay, Apple’s answer to digital wallet. Starting that day, you can use the feature at McDonald’s, Panera and Whole Foods. More retail locations are expected to jump onboard in the coming months.
What makes Zwipe’s Mastercard partnership interesting is the no battery. You also have to wonder about the durability of the sensor. Once you get past the honeymoon period of the new card look, people’s credit cards have a tendency to look like a 5-year old spent the weekend beating the hell out of it.
Below is a video showing off the Zwipe card. iPhone users have to wait until Monday to start holding up the line while you cycle through which card you want to use.