After an announcement last August and a successful pilot program in October, MasterCard recently announced that the company will begin expanding a feature which allows facial recognition software to act as biometric security in mobile payments (via Fortune). Unofficially dubbed "selfie pay," the program lets users confirm an online payment by holding up a smartphone's camera to their face and blinking to ensure the program isn't being duped by a still photograph.
The process would take place within MasterCard's own Identity Check app (currently unavailable in the United States) and is built to streamline the verification process of lengthy digital purchases, superseding the need for a MasterCard's PIN number or password with a quick selfie. The United Kingdom will be one of 14 total countries targeted for the summer rollout, but beyond the pilot program's support of First Tech Federal Credit Union, the expansion of supported banks was not listed.
One big motivation behind Mastercard’s expansion of its selfie pay tool is cutting down false declines, which occur when a legitimate transaction is rejected because of suspected fraud. These instances cost the company some $118 billion per year—13 times more than the cost of actual fraud.
MasterCard isn't looking solely at selfies to confirm purchases, however. Last year, the company began testing a feature that worked in tandem with the Nymi band to verify mobile transactions through a user's unique heartbeat. At the time, Nymi said that its biometric technology could potentially be implemented into existing wearables for a wider adoption, but MasterCard's current focus sits on the summer's rollout of its facial recognition feature.
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