Starting in 2022, Mercedes-Benz will be launching new services allowing customers to use fingerprint scans to verify purchases from inside their vehicle. While this makes it sound as though the feature will be limited to feeding the meter, fast food, gasoline, and the occasional tech-savvy prostitute, parent company Daimler said it was an important step forward for its MBUX multimedia interface and the general trajectory for luxury vehicles as a whole.
Announced earlier in November, we have only just been made aware of the program (h/t Automotive News) due to the initial focus on Europe. Having recently partnered with Visa, Daimler Mobility has opted to test the feature on its home market with the United Kingdom being the first English-speaking nation to see if being fingerprinted by your car is that much better than being fingerprinted by your phone.
From spring 2022 onwards, Mercedes-Benz customers in the UK and Germany will be able to make payments using a fingerprint sensor in the car, with other European markets to follow. Purchases can then be made directly through the car’s head unit, or MBUX. The solution is anticipated to be available in other markets globally at a later stage.
In-car commerce has become an integral aspect of the luxury customer experience. For example, Daimler Mobility’s global payment platform called Mercedes pay enables customers to buy goods and services directly in their car, including Mercedes me services, as well as for other use cases such as fuelling [sic] and parking.
“Mercedes pay is our competence centre for in-car payment, through which we offer our customers worldwide digital services seamlessly integrated within the Mercedes-Benz ecosystem,” explained Daimler Mobility CEO Franz Reiner. “In partnership with Visa, Daimler will offer native in-car payments that meets the requirements of two-factor authentication in a secure and user-friendly way. There is nothing more convenient than authorising a payment with your fingerprint. A luxury customer experience of course includes the aspect of safety, and we fulfil that through native in-car payment. We offer our customers security not only when driving, but also when paying.”
While I’ve never felt overburdened or unsafe using cash or a credit card, this kind of technology is becoming fairly commonplace as payment features have become more integrated with mobile devices. The automotive industry’s current emphasis on becoming data-focused has encouraged manufacturers to chase those trends and Mercedes-Benz has — for better or worse — frequently placed itself on the front lines.
The system will use the Visa Cloud Token Framework, allowing for services to be shared across multiple devices (which now includes automobiles). Customers will allegedly be protected by converting “sensitive payment information” into data that will be securely stored. Once paired with the vehicle and any other devices, data is integrated with the consumer’s bank credentials to allow immediate access to funds without having to reach into any pockets or input information. Daimler said it would be piloting the program in Europe with aspirations to extend services globally.
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