MasterCard Will Join “Fingerprint ID” Agenda

MasterCard is joining the FIDO Alliance, signaling that the payment network is getting interested in using fingerprints and other biometric data to identify people for online payments.

MasterCard will be the first major payment network to join FIDO. The Alliance is developing an open industry standard for biometric data such as fingerprints to be used for identification online. The goal is to replace clunky passwords and take friction out of logging on and purchasing using mobile devices.

Apple’s new iPhone 5s smartphone has a fingerprint sensor, but the tech giant is not part of FIDO. However, Google is part of the Alliance, and devices running Google’s Android operating system will have fingerprint sensors by next year. The addition of MasterCard will help FIDO expand its standard to more types of transactions. The company’s experience handling the multitude of existing payments-industry standards will also be valuable.

“Our involvement with the FIDO Alliance, as well as other activities across the industry, will help deliver strong security for consumers, merchants and issuers, as well as a great consumer experience,” said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard.

Joining FIDO will give MasterCard different ways of identifying people and help it decide when to use those techniques, depending on the situation. FIDO is trying to standardize lots of different ways of identifying people online, not just through biometric methods.

By Alistair Barr, USA Today;