MasterCard testing selfies to verify online payments

MasterCard is experimenting the use of selfies as a means of verifying payments in its smartphone app.

The app confirms a persons identity via a facial scan to authenticate online transactions.

In an interview with CNN, Ajay Bhalla, a security expert at MasterCard, said:

“When consumers shop on the Internet, their banks need ways to verify their identities. So this particular product seamlessly integrates biometrics into the overall payment experience.”

Bhalla said that “the new generation, which is into selfies” will likely consider the feature to be “cool”, and will likely “embrace it”.

MasterCard app

Those with the MasterCard phone app at checkout can hold up their phone and look directly into the camera and blink so that the app can confirm the identity of the user and allow them to make payments online.

But the feature isn’t just to keep up with trends. Currently, online transactions use “SecureCode”, requiring the use of a password – which are frequently stolen or forgotten. Using facial recognition could be the answer to that problem.

According to CNNMoney, MasterCard will test its scanning identification system with 500 customers and eventually make the feature publicly available once it’s proven to work well.

MasterCard has reportedly partnered up with various smartphone makers to make this method of verification possible.

Other companies are working on similar mobile scanning systems. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba unveiled a system in March that uses a selfie taken on a smartphone when a product is purchased to confirm the identity of the buyer.