Mastercard Wants To Use Your Face To Pay For Things

Mastercard has announced plans to make banking security a lot more personal by using facial scanning to authenticate its users.

The payment provider is planning to rollout a new program that will use a self-portrait photo taken with a smartphone to clear your purchases at the checkout.

The company already says it already has deals in place with Google, Apple, Blackberry and Microsoft, as well as finalising a deal with two major banks, and hopes to begin a limited 500-person pilot program later this fall.

Say cheese

The system will be controlled by using the MasterCard phone app, which will display a pop-up after you pay for something, with the option to authenticate using a fingerprint or photo.

The former just requires a quick touch, with the latetr having the user stare into the device and blinking once (in order to prevent someone from just holding up a picture of you to spoof the system).

The company says that it never receives a full picture of a user’s finger or face. All fingerprint scans will create a code that stays on the device. The facial recognition scan will map out your face, convert it to 1s and 0s and transmit that over the Internet to MasterCard’s database.

“The new generation, which is into selfies … I think they’ll find it cool. They’ll embrace it,” Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard’s chief product security officer, said in an interview with CNN Money.

The launch will be Mastercard’s latest attempts to shake up the security market, following several interesting moves in the past year.

Last November, the company announced it was teaming up with Visa to create a new security protocol that could mean the end for traditional password authentication when making online payments.

The company also revealed that it is conducting trials of a wristband which authenticates a cardholder through their unique cardiac rhythm, doing away with the need for password altogether. It is also piloting commercial tests for facial and voice recognition apps to authenticate cardholders.

Previously, Mastercard had announced plans to launch the world’s first fingerprint-enabled payments card, developed with verification specialists Zwipe. The card comes equipped with a special biometric sensor featuring Zwipe’s secure biometric authentication technology, which stores the cardholder’s biometric data, becoming part of the payments approval process.

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Mike Moore

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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