Mountain America Credit Union, a $7 billion asset institution based in West Jordan, Utah, is piloting a new Visa biometrics payments card.

The pilot will test fingerprint recognition as an alternative to PIN or signature to authenticate a cardholder and is being managed through the Visa Ready for Biometrics program. The Bank of Cyprus is also participating in the pilot.

“Mountain America strives to continually provide the most secure and innovative products to our members. This technology provides an added level of security and convenience that is unmatched by other products in market,” said Kelly Albiston, senior vice president of digital banking at Mountain America Credit union, in an email. “The EMV biometric card pilot with Visa gives us the opportunity to continue leading in emerging technology and we are honored that Visa selected us as the exclusive credit union for this pilot.”

The cards will be enabled with both EMV chip and a contactless payment function.

When a cardholder places his or her finger on the sensor, the card compares the fingerprint to a previously enrolled fingerprint template securely stored in the card.

For Mountain America CU, 130 cards will be tested by selected employees for 45 days beginning in late February.

Whether or not the credit union plans to adopt the biometrics card for members is still being determined.

A recent Visa survey reported that 86 percent of consumers are interested in using biometrics to authenticate payments. Consumers were most familiar with fingerprint recognition, as 30 percent had used it once or twice and another 35 percent used it regularly.

“The world is quickly moving toward a future that will be free of passwords, as consumers realize how biometric technologies can make their lives easier,” said Jack Forestell, head of global merchant solutions at Visa, in a press release. “As electronic payments expand dramatically around the world, Visa is committed to developing and investing in emerging capabilities that deliver a better, more secure payment experience.”

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