Chip-based biometrics introduced in SA

September 15, 2015 10:41 am0 comments

chipJOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – VISA, the global payments technology company,has introduced a new specification to use biometrics with chip card transactions in South Africa.

Said to be the first-of-its kind technology, the framework is designed to work with the EMV® (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) chip industry standard to help ensure open, globally interoperable solutions.

Absa Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barclays Africa Group, will be the first to use Visa’s specification to develop a proof of concept trial beginning this summer.

Cardholders will use fingerprint readers at select Absa-owned ATMs in lieu of a PIN to complete transactions. In order to prevent potential fraud as well as encourage easier access to banking, there is strong interest in biometric solutions in South Africa and other developing countries where
banking and electronic payments may still be nascent.

Cowyk Fox, Head of Absa Card, said biometrics was becoming increasingly important as a candidate technology that will have an impact on our relationship with customers.

“Our pursuit of these trials with Visa is required to ensure our ability to inform uniform standards across the payments ecosystem, locally and globally. Through inclusive and wide consultations with customers, suppliers and the industry at large, we are embarking on this exciting process with Visa to build on our existing innovations in the payments space,” said Fox.

Mark Nelsen, Senior Vice President of Risk Products and Business Intelligence, Visa Inc. Said there was increasing demand for biometrics as a more convenient and secure alternative to signatures or PINs, especially as biometrics technologies have become more reliable and available.

He noted however, to support wide adoption, it was equally important that solutions are scalable and based on open standards.

“Building on the EMV chip standard provides a common, interoperable found


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