The first pilot project for Visa’s new biometric chip card specification has gone into effect, the company has announced. As it indicated when it first announced the specification, it’s being tested out with South Africa’s Absa Bank.
With the pilot project, Absa Bank cardholders can now access certain ATMs via fingerprint, rather than PIN code. The system adheres to Visa’s new specifications, which detail how “match-on-card” authentication ensures that biometric data is validated on a given EMV chip card, rather than being transmitted to an external server, except in cases where the whole transaction is occurring within the service provider’s own environment. In a statement announcing the new project, Visa SVP Mark Nelsen suggested that this kind of biometric authentication offers “a more convenient and secure alternative to signatures or PINs, especially as biometrics technologies have become more reliable and available.”
The project is perhaps a natural product of Visa’s intensifying exploration of biometric security, which has occurred alongside research into other digital security technologies such as tokenization for mPayment transactions. In the case of its new biometric EMV specification, the company says its goal is to see its standard introduce biometric validation to the 3.3 billion EMV chip cards currently in circulation around the world.
September 29, 2015 – by Alex Perala