New biometric payments standard for SA

July 28th, 2016
A new standardised specification has been announced for biometric authentication on payment cards in South Africa. 

The Payments Association of South Africa (PASA) announced this week that it had worked in partnership with Mastercard and Visa on a technology framework to ensure open interoperable solutions in South Africa. The specification enables a range of biometric solutions, from fingerprint verification to palm, voice, iris, or facial biometrics.

Financial institutions, solution providers, and others in the South African payments system can now rely on an interoperable and consistent infrastructure for supporting biometrics.

Biometric verification is intended to prevent fraud as well as make it easier to pay securely. The architecture Mastercard and Visa has designed enables biometric forms such as fingerprints to be securely accepted by a biometric reader, encrypted, and then validated.

“As an industry we are proud to have facilitated the world’s first truly interoperable biometric specification that will unlock the benefits of biometric verification and make it available to an open community in a way that is affordable, reliable and secure,” said Walter Volker, CEO of the Payments Association of South Africa.

“To support wide adoption, it is equally important that solutions are scalable and based on open standards. Building on the current standards, this provides a common, interoperable foundation, as well as encourages innovation in cutting-edge biometric solutions,” added James Simpson, Country Manager for Visa in South Africa.

“Through this interoperable biometric verification standard in South Africa, we can connect a complicated web of players who operate with different rules and technologies,” said Mark Elliott, Division President for Mastercard, South Africa. “Together, we can drive ubiquity, safety, and utility of biometric payments, while helping to accelerate the number of smart and secure biometric payment solutions available to consumers on these platforms.”

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