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MasterCard launches 'selfie pay' app

News, 06 October 2016

LONDON: MasterCard, the financial payments firm, is rolling out new biometric technology in Europe that enables customers to verify their identity with selfies.

Dubbed "Selfie Pay", but officially known as "Identity Check Mobile", the new app is aimed at simplifying online shopping by allowing consumers to use fingerprint biometrics or facial recognition for payment authentication.

It follows trials earlier this year in the Netherlands, which showed that nine-in-ten (92%) consumers found the new MasterCard system more convenient than having to remember passwords, while a further 83% thought it more secure.

The new technology is being introduced across 12 markets in Europe – the UK, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden – before being rolled out around the world next year.

"This is a significant milestone in the evolution of payments," said Ajay Bhalia, President of Enterprise Risk & Security at MasterCard. "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."

According to MasterCard, Identity Check Mobile eliminates the need for cardholders to recall passwords, so speeding up the digital checkout experience while also improving security.

Cleverly, customers opting to take a selfie photo to verify their payments will need to blink when prompted to offset the risk of fraudsters holding up a still photo of those whose details they have stolen.

Commenting on the new technology, analyst Jonathan Sander of Lieberman Software told The Times: "Nicknaming it Selfie Pay is genius because it's skipping right past technology to a concept most users will immediately understand.

"It's much harder to steal someone's face than to guess their password. Users can't forget their face like a password, or use an insecure face because they're lazy."

Data sourced from MasterCard, The Times; additional content by Warc staff