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Mastercard creates credit card with fingerprint scanner

PHILIPPE HUGUEN | AFP | Getty Images

The days of tapping in your PIN at the checkout could be numbered after credit card provider Mastercard unveiled a payment card in South Africa featuring a biometric fingerprint scanner.

Mastercard, which processes more than 65,000 transactions every minute worldwide, made the announcement on Thursday following two successful trials in South Africa.

The technology works in a similar way to mobile phone payments, in which users must hold their finger over the sensor whilst making a purchase. Instead of a card user entering in their four-digit personal identification number (PIN), the payment card features a small biometric area designed to verify the user's fingerprint.

"It's not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected," Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise risk and security at Mastercard, said in a statement.

The payment network said it is currently extending the trial process and hopes to fully implement the technology throughout Europe and Asia later this year.

While fingerprint recognition is widely considered as a safer and more efficient way of payment authentication than PINs, analysts at Berlin-based Security Research Labs had previously hacked scanners such as the ones used by Samsung's Galaxy S5.

"Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics (and) the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security," Bhalla added.