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Visa announced this month it’s edging closer to a reality in which credit card personal identification numbers will be a thing of the past. The credit card giant said it is testing biometric credit cards at two banks at this point – the Bank of Cyprus and Mountain America Credit Union in Utah.
To use these biometric credit cards, fingerprint recognition will be utilized, doing away with more obsolete technology including PINS and signatures.
How Exactly Do Biometric Devices Work?
The technology of biometrics has been increasingly used in other industries that place an emphasis on security. Biometric locks for homes have become more popular in recent years, as have biometric gun safes for hunters and those who own personal firearms for safety purposes.
With a biometric credit card, the basic operating procedure is the same. A template of a person’s fingerprint is stored on the card. When they go to use the card, they’ll have to press their finger against a sensor on the card or they’ll be able to wave their finger over it for making a payment without contact.
Their fingerprint is then checked out against the one stored in the card, which will identify them as a valid user of the card. Lights, both red and green, will signal whether the match is correct or not.
How This Will Help
PIN numbers are easy to hack for a dedicated and clever criminal. Signatures are easy to fake and are rarely checked at places of business, and the clerks who work there are not trained to do a handwriting analysis anyway.
Biometrics should make credit card usage more secure because a fingerprint is unique.
“The world is quickly moving toward a future that will be free of passwords, as consumers realize how biometric technologies can make their lives easier,” Jack Forestell, global head of merchant sales and solutions for Visa, said.
Other Companies Are Checking Out Biometrics Too
Visa isn’t the only company to test out biometrics in the hopes of offering a more secure credit card experience for consumers.
Mastercard tested a biometric card last year. And it appears to be the wave of the future.
But unlike chip cards, biometric cards are more expensive for companies to produce. That’s because of the tiny circuit board that resides in the card – that part costs most than a chip card.
It’s possible consumers will have to pay for the luxury of using a biometric card. How much that fee might be is still up in the air, and whatever it is, it will likely drop once biometric cards are commercially and universally accepted.
But after the identity breaches consumers have been dealing with for years, some consumers might find the biometric credit card option attractive even if they have to pay extra for it. The headache, and possible expense, of dealing with credit card fraud or a hacked identity is often way more troublesome and inconvenient for customers than paying a small one-time fee for a biometric card might be.
Author: Mike Brown
In his role at LendEDU, Mike uses data, usually from surveys and publicly-available resources, to identify emerging personal finance trends and tell unique stories. Mike’s work, featured in major outlets like The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, provides consumers with a personal finance measuring stick and can help them make informed finance decisions.