Following successful trials in Norway, MasterCard is now ready to bring biometric cards to the UK, enabling customers to authorise payments with their thumbprint. The new technology works by allowing users to place their thumb on a special reader contained within the card, whilst holding it over a contactless terminal. Currently, bank customers can pay up to £20 via contactless payment. However, it is planned that the thumbprint method will allow for payments of any value.

What this means for you

MasterCard has said that biometric cards will now be offered to UK banks. It anticipates that the first cards will be with customers by this time next year. Customers will need to register their thumb - although some may have security concerns, those who are technologically-minded or struggle to remember their PIN will no doubt embrace the new way of making payments. Security concerns for new technology are nothing new. The key issue is whether card holders will embrace the wealth of new technology that enables faster and easier payments, in particular the inevitable rise of mobile phone payments. The cost of the cards will be borne by the card issuers but it is hoped that reduced fraud levels will counteract the additional cost of the technology