Mastercard fingerprint scanner a £15m windfall for Neil Woodford

Mastercard announced plans to trial the credit card fingerprint scanner last week CREDIT:MASTERCARD
James Titcomb 22 APRIL 2017

The veteran fund manager Neil Woodford has received a multi-million pound windfall from Mastercard trialling a fingerprint-scanning credit card.

Mr Woodford’s Patient Capital Trust has a 26pc holding in IDEX, the Norwegian company whose sensor is included in the next-generation biometric technology.

Mastercard disclosed on Thursday it was testing a card that replaces the four-digit credit card PIN with a fingerprint scanner. Shares in Oslo-listed IDEX, which develops the scanner, surged 18pc over Thursday and Friday.

Mr Woodford saw the trust’s stake in the company rise to more than £100m as IDEX increased in value by £62m. Invesco Perpetual also retains a 16pc stake in the company.

The Patient Capital Trust’s other investments include Purplebricks, the online estate agent, and Allied Minds, a technology incubator.

Neil Woodford is a veteran fund manager

Fingerprint sensors, already used for mobile payments, are seen as a quicker, more secure way to verify transactions than personal identification numbers.

Mastercard said it would trial the new technology in South Africa but planned to begin tests in Europe and elsewhere  in the world by the end of the year, potentially putting the scanner device into millions of cards.

To authenticate a transaction, shoppers must simply insert their card into existing payment terminals and have the fingerprint stored on the card match their own.

IDEX, founded in 1996, has a small number of staff in Farnborough developing the low-cost sensor technology.