Amazon Wants You To Pay With A Selfie

taking selfie

Patent revealed showing plans for paying via photo or video rather than entering a password

Paying for your purchases on Amazon could be about to get a lot more personal, thanks to a new patent from the company revealed today.

The online retail giant has filed a patent application for a facial recognition system that will allow shoppers to make a purchase by taking a photo and/or video of themselves, instead of needing to enter their account password.

Amazon says that this process is safer than having to remember which password you use for its site, as many customers now use multiple codes for different websites.

Say cheese

amazon selfie pay“While many conventional approaches rely on password entry for user authentication, these passwords can be stolen or discovered by other persons who can impersonate the user for any of a variety of tasks,” the application, which was filed in October 2015 but only revealed today, reads.

It notes that some currently-available facial recognition services can be duped by someone simply holding up a photo of a face, and is looking to get around this by also requiring its users to move their head, wink, or smile for a second photo which will be used to authenticate their account (pictured right)

But Amazon also notes that the system can also help alleviate the potential awkwardness its users apparently experience when entering passwords onto a device.

“The entry of these passwords on portable devices is not user friendly in many cases, as the small touchscreen or keyboard elements can be difficult to accurately select using a relatively large human finger, and can require the user to turn away from friends or co-workers when entering a password, which can be awkward or embarrassing in many situations.”

The patent is the second such example of a ‘selfie pay’ system seen in recent weeks as companies embrace the possibilities of biometric technology.

Last month at Mobile World Congress, MasterCard revealed it would be introducing biometric security across its products that will allow customers to access their accounts with a photo of their face when using its mobile app, or using a fingerprint scan.

The system, which will be available in the UK and 14 other countries from the summer, will mean shoppers can complete a purchase online without ever needing to enter confirmation codes, passwords, or PIN numbers.

A recent Visa Europe study found that three-quarters of 16-24 year olds in the UK would feel comfortable using information such as fingerprint scans, facial recognition or retina scanning in place of traditional passcodes.

Overall, three-quarters (76 percent) of this age group said that they would feel comfortable making a payment using biometric security, with over two thirds (69 percent) believe this will make their lives faster and easier.

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