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article imageMasterCard 'Selfie Pay' will let you blink to make purchases

By James Walker     Oct 7, 2015 in Technology
Credit card provider MasterCard has announced it has begun rolling out a new biometric authentication technology previously known as Selfie Pay. It will allow card holders to complete transactions by scanning their face or providing a fingerprint.
Now formally titled Identity Check, MasterCard hopes the new verification methods will be more applicable to the digital age. The Consumerist reports it is designed to speed up the checkout process in online shopping while providing more security than a simple password or PIN can.
A MasterCard survey found that 53 percent of 10,000 shoppers forget "crucial" passwords to online stores more than once a week. The card provider estimates they spend as much as 10 minutes each time going through the process of resetting their account and obtaining a new password.
The inconvenience could also be damaging to sales: MasterCard found more than a third of people would abandon a purchase if they couldn't remember their password at a checkout. The company says over half of those surveyed wanted to see passwords replaced with a more user-friendly alternative that delivers the same level of security as is currently available.
MasterCard Identity Check is designed to fit that bill, aiming to "simplify and strengthen" online shopping. Ajay Bhalla, president of Enterprise Security Solutions at MasterCard, said in a press release: "Today, people shop on all sorts of devices, and they expect technology to simplify and secure the transaction. This is exactly what Identity Check delivers."
Users will be able to authenticate purchases by blinking in front of a camera or holding their finger against a sensor. Moments later, the transaction can be verified and the order processed by the store. If required, a single-use password can be sent via SMS for times when additional security checks may be necessary.
MasterCard is already running trials of the technology with members of U.S. financial institution First Tech Federal Credit Union. The test began in September and will conclude at the end of this month. Separately, 750 customers of International Card Services, the leading provider in the Netherlands, are participating in a three-month trial that sees them using facial recognition and fingerprints to pay for products bought via mobile devices.
MasterCard says Identity Check will be offered to U.S. financial situations from the middle of 2016. It will expand to other territories during 2017. This means some U.S. shoppers should be able to take advantage of "Selfie Pay" towards the end of next year, continuing the growing trend of moving away from passwords.
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