The cards combine EMV-based chip technology with fingerprint recognition technology to verify cardholders' integrity for in-store purchases.
The transaction can then be approved with the card never leaving the consumer's hand.
After your templates are saved, your card is ready to be used at compatible terminals worldwide - merchants don't have to get new equipment to accept your fingerprint-enabled plastic.
Most of us will be used to using fingerprints to unlock our smartphones. When a card owner enrols their fingerprint is recorded at the bank, and the biometric data is stored on the chip as a digital template.
Authenticating a payment transaction biometrically - in this instance via a fingerprint - confirms in a very unique way that the person using the card is the genuine cardholder.More news: Hike in Premier League football costs continues to hurt Sky's bottom line
To get one of the new cards, customers will have to visit an enrollment center (probably a bank), where their fingerprint will be scanned and transfer onto their card. The fingerprint sensor is a small, thumbnail-sized rectangle that sits at the top right corner, and is easily accessible when you stick the card into a payment terminal. Additional trials were planned for Europe and Asia Pacific.
The recent South African trials mobilised employees from Pick n Pay and Absa Bank to test the potential ways convenience and security couldcontribute to the checkout process. In the coming months, additional trials will be conducted with the biometric card before a full roll-out takes place late this year.
Biometric authentication technology has always been touted as a means of making paying for goods faster and more convenient for users by removing the need to remember passwords or PIN numbers while also providing a high level of security.
Richard van Rensburg, deputy chief executive at Pick n Pay, said the company was delighted that the innovation had been trialed at Pick n Pay stores. This implementation would also make card payments at restaurants or shopping malls a lot more secure. Following the test period, he added, Absa would make the card available to customers in a way that was "affordable, reliable, convenient and secure".