Mercedes Makes It Easier For Car Owners to Pay For In-Car Services and Upgrades…With Their Fingerprint

Carmakers are learning from the gaming world and cashing in on microtransactions. Heated seats, better acceleration, navigation and remote engine start are among the services that some car owners have to pay for to have in their own vehicle.

Now, Mercedes-Benz is now making it easier for car owners to give the automaker more of their money via in-car purchases. It is the first automaker in the world to use Visa’s Delegated Authentication and Visa Cloud Token Framework technology, which allows fingerprint verification to make “secure” in-car purchases. For now, only customers just in Germany are able to pay for digital services or hardware upgrades from their car this way.

The fingerprint sensor—which is presently available in the EQS and EQE series, the S-Class, C-Class and GLC—will play a part in the two-factor authentication process for in-car purchases. The driver do not have to enter a PIN or use their mobile device to verify the payment—just place a finger on the sensor and this will unlock certain features that their car model is capable of. Just don’t be surprised when you get your credit card bill at the end of the month.

By 2026, which is not a very long way away, in-car payment transactions will total US$4.7 billion.

Mercedes says that the fingerprint verification feature can be extended to other car-related services, such as refuelling, and expects that this would account for 48% of transactions.

The remaining transactions, though, will be for features such as Remote Parking Assist, Adaptive Highbeam Assist or Rear Axle Steering (larger steering angle). Surely these should come with the price of the car, but it’s a weird new world we live in now, in which this is not considered daylight robbery (when it should be).

Recently, it was revealed that Ford has filed a patent that lets the company disable certain in-car functions or lock the owner out if they miss a payment and even, if the vehicle has autonomous capabilities, to drive itself to the impound lot.

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