Mastercard Experimenting with Facial Recognition to Approve Online Transactions

Look around you and chances are you might end up spotting someone pouting for a selfie. As annoying as it may seem, the Banking giant Mastercard is looking to turn this teen obsession into a payment authorization method. Intrigued? Read on.


Ajay Bhalla, the man in charge of transaction security at Mastercard says, “The new generation, which is into selfies … I think they’ll find it cool. They’ll embrace it.” This would also help Mastercard cut the risk of credit card frauds. Most banking cards presently work with a transaction password when shopping online. While it’s relatively secure, there’s always a risk of it being forgotten, stolen or intercepted.

Biometric is increasingly being accepted as a safer mean to transact. Thanks to Apple’s finger print scanner TouchID, it’s more widely used than ever before. TouchID is being used in Apple’s mobile payment system, Apple Pay.

Mastercard will try the new facial authentication in a closed study group to iron out any issues and roll it out to a larger audience once the system is perfect. Mastercard has tied up with a number of smartphone manufacturers to roll this out. The partners include Apple, Blackberry, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung. They are also in talks with banks to roll this out.

How Facial Authentication Works

You will need to download the Mastercard App on your smartphone to pay using facial authentication.

At the time of purchase when asked for authentication, you can choose fingerprint scan or facial authentication. For the latter, you need to look in to your smartphone screen and blink – and you’re done! The app doesn’t click a picture of you every time but blinking prevents anyone using your picture to authenticate purchases.

The facial scan maps your face and transmits the data to Mastercard’s secure servers. Mastercard is also said to be working on a voice authentication system where you will be able to make payments just speaking into your smartphone.

So, when this rolls out expect longer delays at the checkout counters, what with customers trying to look their best making the payment!

image credit: bigstockphoto.com

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