Mastercard Patent Authenticates Without In-Store PIN, Biometrics
Mastercard on Tuesday (July 26) was granted a patent for a device that sidesteps PINs and biometrics for quick consumer payment authorization. The idea is that consumers would authenticate themselves before making the purchase, thereby enabling much faster checkout in-store.
The patent describes an all-in-one device that would be given to consumers and that includes an internal dual-mode chip card, along with an antenna for contactless operation. The device also would feature integrated PIN entry and/or biometric reader—meaning payments could be authorized directly on the device, rather than on a merchant’s own authorization hardware. The transaction already is approved by the consumer by the time it reaches the merchant’s system. The device also could be used to pre-authorize ATM transactions, the patent notes.
The patent describes a battery-powered device with an on/off switch to enable or disable the proximity chip functionality. Alternatively, a code or biometric could be used to enable the contactless function for a period of time. The device potentially could be issued to users.
Of course, like all granted patents, Mastercard won’t necessarily productize it. That said, since initially applying for the patent in 2007, the company has remained focused on the confluence of biometrics and contactless. In 2014, Mastercard partnered with Norwegian firm Zwipe to develop what the companies called the first contactless payments card featuring an integrated fingerprint sensor. Earlier this month, Mastercard announced it was updating its Masterpass digital payment service to enable users to make contactless in-store purchases via smartphone at more than 5 million merchant locations around the world.