Apple Pay might mean that UK iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners will soon be able to use their Touch ID fingerprint sensors to approve payments, while Samsung Galaxy S5 and owners of other biometric sensor-enhanced Android devices are already benefiting from a similar system, but what about the rest of us?
What if you want to use a contactless payment method other than a phone and approve purchases over a certain amount without having to revert to a PIN code? Well, Zwipe and Mastercard believe they have the answer; the world's first contactless payment card with a built-in biometric sensor that recognises your fingerprint.
The Zwipe Mastercard payment card holds the cardholder's biometric data and can be used to purchase items at any terminal that already recognises NFC payments. The difference is that only the user of the card can make payments with it, as it is their fingerprint that is needed for approval.
The biometric element replaces the PIN system on other contactless payment cards, so enables the user to pay for more expensive items without needing to input a personal identification number.
The first generation of the card is a touch more clunky than a conventional credit or debit card as it houses a battery, and was therefore only used in trials in Norway, but the second generation version will be the same format as a standard card and is planned to work with terminals released in 2015. It will harvest energy to operate the fingerprint sensor from the terminals themselves.
"Our belief is that we should be able to identify ourselves without having to use passwords or PIN numbers," said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at Mastercard.
"Biometric authentication can help us achieve this. However, our challenge is to ensure the technology offers robust security, simplicity of use and convenience for the customer. Zwipe’s first trial is a significant milestone and its results are very encouraging."