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Why MasterCard needs your selfie

  • Checkout
  • February 25, 2016
  • Ahmed Bashir
Why MasterCard needs your selfie

The new ‘selfie pay’ will act as one of MasterCard’s security check mechanisms. Through its new system called MasterCard Identity Check, the credit card company will use biometric methods like face and fingerprint recognition to simplify and improve the security of online transactions.

Here's how it works: First, download MasterCard’s Identity Check mobile app. Second, verify account details along with a selfie of yourself. From that moment on, when making an online transaction a selfie is required to verify the transaction. Without the selfie, the transaction will not go through.

MasterCard says that it has gone to great lengths to ensure the security of transactions. The face recognition app does not take still photos, but rather asks that the person blinks to limit the possibility of fraud.

Ann Cairns, head of international markets for MasterCard, told CNBC that biometric security methods were trialed last year in the U.S. and the Netherlands with a mostly positive response.

“I think the whole biometric space is a great way of protecting yourself when you are doing payments,” she said.

The commercial benefits from the system can be significant, with the possibility of online sales increasing as passwords are replaced with a more convenient system.

According to a survey by MasterCard, 53 percent of shoppers forget passwords at least once a week, sometimes wasting 10 minutes to reset their account.

Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard said in a press release, “People shop on all sorts of devices, and they expect technology to simplify and secure the transaction….This is exactly what identity check delivers.”

Selfie pay will be made available through partnered banks in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and other potential markets this year.

Other biometric solutions that MasterCard is trialing include checking the customer’s heartbeat using wearable technology such as smartwatches.

So, the question is, how secure is your selfie game?

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