MasterCard to pilot facial recognition for online purchases

July 1, 2015 - 

MasterCard will launch a small pilot program this fall in which the credit card giant will start approving online purchases with fingerprints and facial scans, in an effort to reduce fraud, according to a report by CNN Money.

The company currently offers a “SecureCode” authentication system in which customers are required to enter a password when shopping online.

The pilot program will initially be limited to 500 customers, but Mastercard plans to officially launch it to its entire customer base at some point following the pilot program.

MasterCard has partnered with all major smartphone manufacturers, including Apple (AAPL, Tech30), BlackBerry (BBRY, Tech30), Google (GOOGL, Tech30), Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30), and Samsung (SSNLF), and is currently finalizing agreements with two major banks.

Users will be able to use the feature by downloading and logging into the MasterCard phone app.

When they make an online purchase they will be asked to select their authorization method.

If the customer selects fingerprint, they can simply touch their finger to the smartphone.

For facial recognition, they will be asked to stare at the phone and blink once, which prevents a thief from simply holding up a photo of the customer in an effort to access the system.

MasterCard said that the fingerprint scans will create a code that will be locally stored on the device, while the facial recognition scan will map out their face, convert the scan to 1s and 0s and securely send the encrypted data to MasterCard’s servers.

The company is only at the testing phase for the facial scan technology so it is possible that MasterCard will eventually store facial scans on the device in the future.

In addition to fingerprint and facial recognition, MasterCard is experimenting with voice recognition technology, which will enable customers to approve an online transaction by simply speaking to their phone.

The credit card firm is also working with Nymi to develop an authentication solution that will approve transactions by recognizing the customer’s unique heartbeat.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.