Future of Payments

Mastercard brings selfies and fingerprints to online payment security

Mastercard is bringing biometrics to online payments in the form of selfies and fingerprint verification.

The card provider has revealed that consumers will soon be able to pay for their purchases using photographs of themselves and fingerprint scanners instead of passwords.

As a result, it hopes to make payments easier for customers, meaning they are less likely to abandon their shopping baskets as the result of a declined password, for example.

“We are relentlessly focused on making the online payment experience near frictionless, without making any compromises on safety and security,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise risk and security at Mastercard.

“This is a significant milestone in the evolution of payments.

“Shopping in person has been revolutionised thanks to advances like contactless cards, mobile payments and wearables, and now we are making Identity Check Mobile a reality for online shopping in Europe, and soon, the world.”

Security experts welcomed the move as one that benefits both convenience and security.

“Mastercard’s announcement is part of a larger movement towards allowing people to prove who they are, simply by taking a selfie,” said Paco Garcia, CTO at Yoti. “By offering an alternative to the hassle of remembering usernames and passwords, they are making their customers’ lives easier and more secure…

“It’s no surprise this technology is being introduced to online shopping channels, as innovation in retail is moving so quickly. Retailers are now under huge competitive pressure from digitally-native, mobile-focused customers who have become accustomed to contactless cards and mobile payments.

“The key challenge for any of these selfie authentication solutions is ensuring the right live person is in front of their phone requesting payment, and not a fraudster using a photo or video of another person. It is important for companies to take the time to find a level of security that suits them and their customers.”

Mastercard’s move follows that of HSBC, which recently began allowing its business customers to open accounts by taking selfies.

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