UPDATE: MasterCard selfie technology is expected to come to Canada for summer of 2016.
Selfies are the new… passwords?
Maybe, according to MasterCard. The credit card company is currently experimenting with using personal features such as fingerprints and facial recognition to verify a cardholder’s identity. Known as biometric authentication, the technology could boost the security of online purchases.
If implemented, customers would need to download an app to access the technology. After paying, the user would be asked for a form of authorization — either a fingerprint (by simply touching the screen) or a facial scan (by staring at the phone and blinking once). MasterCard says no photo will be logged and that facial reconstruction won’t be possible.
Also read: Would You Use Heartbeat Banking?>
Passwords Are Passé
MasterCard currently offers its customers “SecureCode,” a private code that enhances security while online shopping. The code is unique to each customer and can only be seen by the cardholder and their financial institution. According to a CNN story, these codes were used in three billion online transactions in 2014.
So why biometric authentication? Passwords and codes are forgotten; a fingerprint is forever. “Passwords are a pain,” said Ajay Bhalla, MasterCard’s president of Enterprise Security Solutions, in a recent press release. “They’re easy to forget, they waste our time and they’re not very safe. Biometrics are making online transactions as secure and simple as purchases in person.”
Also read: MasterCard Introduced Thumbprint Technology>
MasterCard Selfies Testing to Begin
MasterCard is currently running a trial in the Netherlands, with International Card Services (ICS) B.V.and ABN AMRO cardholders. In September and October, an American trial will begin with more than 200 employees of First Tech Federal Credit Union. The participants will make virtual donations to the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals, which will be authenticated by the facial recognition or fingerprint technology.
According to a MasterCard spokesperson, the company is currently prioritizing markets for a potential rollout of the biometric authentication solution in 2016.