Mastercard confident consumers will use selfies to make payments

Mastercard has launched technology that uses biometrics to verify identification from selfies, in a bid to aid customers who are concerned about fraud and want a quicker way to make online transactions.

Mastercard has announced it is launching ‘Selfie Pay’, a new method for customers to verify their identity when making transactions online.

The update allows cardholders to verify their identity by using biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition – the latter, requires users to take a ‘selfie’. The aim of the move is to move consumers away from the less-secure nature of passwords.

The update will today (4 October) be introduced in 12 countries including the UK, Germany, Spain, Belgium and Sweden, following a series of successful trials in the US, Netherlands and Canada.

MasterCard said the motivation behind the move also comes down to “passwords being a pain” and a demand for updated identification technology.

“All of us have frustrating experiences with the sheer volume of passwords we need to remember, in varying degrees of complexity.  We want to create a safe and easy consumer experience by allowing consumers to authenticate their payments with who they are (biometrics) not what they may or may not remember (passwords),” said the spokesperson.

According to Mastercard nine of out ten people it tested in its Dutch pilot said they would like to replace their password with biometric identification definitively, while 75% of users said they are convinced that biometric payments will decrease fraud. Following the pilot 93% of users said they were happy to continue using fingerprint recognition, while 77% said they were happy to use facial recognition to complete their payments.

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“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,” added the spokesman. 


Mastercard isn’t the first bank to have turned to facial recognition technology. Atom Bank launched a digital banking app earlier this year, which uses face and voice biometrics to let users log into its app, while finance start-up Azimo also has an in-app chat and fingerprint biometrics system.