Mastercard announced last week its future technology supposed to abandon the use of the bank card and simplify our payments. To do this, the company is working on a technology to settle a transaction “with a simple smile or wave of the hand”.
Behind these very marketing promises, the replacement of cards by TPEs with integrated facial recognition camera and fingerprint reader. A system that has something to appeal to neobanks and online banks, less to organizations fighting for the defense of civil rights.
Visa’s competitor, which has issued billions of bank cards around the world and which retains 70 million merchants, will begin a test phase of its new technology in Brazil. A deployment will follow in the Middle East, then in Asia.
To design its tool, the company works with various partners. Mostly specialized startups, such as NEC, Payface, Aurus, PaybyFace, PopID and Fujitsu Limited.
In the end, Mastercard should not design payment terminals directly, but the brands that produce them will have to use the Mastercard network for the biometric device that authenticates payments. According to its outlook, this new payment niche will reach 18.6 billion dollars within four years.
Safety is not the priority
In October 2021, lemon squeezer spoke with Jean-Marie Dragon, Electronic Banking and Innovative Payments Manager at BNP Paribas. With him, the biometric card of the French bank passed from experimentation to generalization, the opportunity to explain to us their motivation to produce such a card.
From what emerged from the group’s motivations, the goal was much more to simplify payments than to make them more secure. Rather than producing a biometric bank card to prevent bank code fraud, the work teams were developing the system to make payments more friendly and convenient for consumers.
“We are essentially presenting the biometric card by promoting its ease of use and its exemption from the contactless payment ceiling. The argument about the risk of fraud with contactless transactions is not entirely relevant, because today we see that contactless payments are absolutely no more risky than traditional contact payments”explained Jean-Marie Dragon.
The motivation could be the same for Mastercard. At the expense of a more in-depth reflection on the need for maximum protection. And even if BNP Paribas stored the client’s confidential information only on their bank card, here, Mastercard would be better able to have to host them in a network. Nothing very reassuring.
So of course, biometric data was invited into tech long before the banking world. All our smartphones and more and more computers have placed biometric recognition at the heart of their use.
The payment of the metaverse
To calm the heat, Mastercard explained that its system will encrypt biometric data in a “token”, a random string of alphanumeric characters, then linked to your virtual payment card. A set of standards to govern the use of this data would be established.
But at the same time, Mastercard wants its life-simplifying tool to be interoperable and for customers to be able to link their loyalty programs with merchants.
One thing is certain, the company has an idea in mind, beyond physical uses. “What we are working towards is the metaverse”, said Ajay Bhalla, president of cyber and intelligence at Mastercard. And for good reason: payment on the Internet in virtual reality needs a real solution to avoid having to remove the helmet from your eyes.