First Tech Federal Credit Union, MasterCard pilot U.S. biometric payments service

August 18, 2015 - 

First Tech Federal Credit Union announced it has implemented a pilot program with MasterCard that will enable First Tech employees to authenticate and verify financial transactions using facial recognition and fingerprint biometrics.

Industry observers have labelled the payments pilot “Selfie Pay,” which will be conducted in a closed environment where First Tech employees will use artificial funds and biometrics.

The pilot is designed to test the potential of delivering greater security and convenience to First Tech’s U.S. cardholders by verifying identity via facial images or fingerprint scans conducted on smartphones.

With this technology, the financial institutions hope to improve the ease and convenience for clients when using credit and debit cards for online purchases while benefiting from advanced technologies to help ensure payment security.

“At First Tech, we’re establishing a strong track record for bringing the most secure and forward-looking payments security to our members, first with our introduction this year of chip-and-PIN debit and credit cards. In that spirit, this biometrics pilot program represents an exciting next step in payment convenience and security,” said Greg Mitchell, CEO of First Tech Federal Credit Union. “Our members are some of the most technologically focused consumers on the planet, and being an innovator in the payments security space is evidence of our strong desire to meet our members’ unique needs.”

The pilot program will run through September and October with the participation of over 200 credit union employees.

Using a smartphone app, participants will make virtual donations to the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals, a nonprofit organization raising funds and awareness for 170 children’s hospitals across North America. All transactions will be authenticated by facial recognition or fingerprint biometrics.

First Tech and MasterCard initially introduced the concept for this biometrics pilot program at the White House Cyber Security Summit held at Stanford University back in February.

Selfie Pay builds on existing efforts by MasterCard and CardinalCommerce to power First Tech Federal Credit Union’s cardholder verification processes.

In a recent interview with BiometricUpdate.com, Kimberly Little Sutherland, senior director of identity management strategy at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, discussed how the selfie is a popular, marketable concept because it is both “personal and relatable”.

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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.