We all like to pretend that our financial information is secure, but the reality is it only takes a bit of cleverness for a thief to steal our hard-earned money. Mastercard is trying to make it a little more difficult for potential criminals by introducing a fingerprint reader directly inside your credit card.
The fingerprint reader sits in one corner of the card and works in any standard chip reader. When you make a payment, the card checks your fingerprint against its stored record and denies the transaction if they don't match. This means that if someone steals your credit card, they won't be able to use it unless they also have your fingerprint.
Of course, this isn't a perfect deterrent. Fingerprints aren't impossible to steal, and once someone has your fingerprint they have it forever. You only get nine new cards before you're out of fingers. Ideally, the fingerprint reader would be used in conjunction with a PIN for maximum security, but this fingerprint reader appears not to do that. Hopefully a future version will.
The new credit card is currently undergoing a trial run in South Africa, with additional trials in Europe and Southeast Asia coming soon, and a global expansion planned after that. There are also plans to use the fingerprint reader with less card payments in the near future.