Now Click a Selfie to Make Payments


The introduction of MasterCard’s new technology “Selfie Pay” may sound the death knell of passwords. Passwords have become a cause of great inconvenience when it comes to online shopping. MasterCard had commissioned a survey of 10,000 people, and the findings support the hypothesis that bio-metrics will be the future of online authentication. According to the survey results, 53 percent of the shoppers waste on an average 10 minutes per week in resetting account passwords. Another important problem is that a lot of online shoppers discontinue the transaction owing to not being able to remember the password. Since the payment page lapses after a certain time, they have to reconnect, which in turn leads to large dropouts for merchants.


With this new technology called MasterCard Identity Check, shoppers would be able to pay for things by simply clicking a selfie. For someone shopping using mobile phone, payment authentication would be done by mapping the selfie taken with a stored with MasterCard. Obviously the selfie taken has to be a clear picture of the person’s face without anyone else in the shot. To ensure that no one uses someone’s picture, the mechanism asks for the person to blink. MasterCard wants to make the already available facial recognition technology more robust and fool proof. The company is already running trials to gauge the viability of Selfie Pay. It is being tested on a group of 200 employees at First Tech Federal Credit Union in California. A second three-month trial is being conducted with a group of 750 ABN Amro credit card users in the Netherlands. MasterCard has ensured that it would not be saving actual pictures of people, rather only use algorithms for the mapping process.

Whether the concept of paying bills by clicking selfies will prove successful from a security perspective is yet to be seen from the outcome of the trials. But the idea is definitely a cutting edge exploration of bio-metrics.


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