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Biometric payments – The future of shopping?

By Jessica Anne Wood

The Payments Association of South Africa (PASA) is working with MasterCard and Visa to facilitate biometric authentication on payment cards. The technology is designed to ensure open interoperable solutions in South Africa. It enables the use of various biometric solutions from fingerprint verification to palm, voice, iris, or facial biometrics.

The use of biometric verification is intended to prevent fraud, while also making it easier to pay securely. The structure designed by MasterCard and Visa allows biometric data to be read by a biometric reader, encrypted and validated.

Walter Volker, CEO of PASA, said: “As an industry we are proud to have facilitated the world’s first truly interoperable biometric specification that will unlock the benefits of biometric verification and make it available to an open community in a way that is affordable, reliable and secure.”

James Simpson, country manager for Visa in South Africa, clarified that to support wide adoption of the system, it is important that solutions are scalable and based on open standards. “Building on the current standards, this provides a common, interoperable foundation, as well as encourages innovation in cutting-edge biometric solutions.”

Mark Elliott, division president for MasterCard in South Africa, elaborated that through this interoperable verification standard, multiply merchants and other players operating with different rules and technologies can be connected. “Together, we can drive ubiquity, safety, and utility of biometric payments, while helping to accelerate the number of smart and secure biometric payment solutions available to consumers on these platforms.”


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