Mastercard rolling out payment system using facial and fingerprint recognition

October 5, 2015 - 

Mastercard is rolling out MasterCard Identity Check, the credit card firm’s new payments system that enables consumers to make online purchases using facial or fingerprint recognition technologies, according to a report by The Telegraph.

The move comes a few months after Mastercard said it would launch a small pilot program this fall which would allow select consumers to place a finger on the scanner of their smartphone, or blink into their smartphone’s camera to verify their identity to complete online purchases.

Mastercard said the system could potentially eliminate the need for consumers to remember passwords when they shop online.

“We believe that security is one of the barriers which is actually inhibiting expansion of e-commerce, because people have to remember passwords and because it is very inconvenient,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard.

“The idea is these technologies should actually change your life, and make it extremely convenient to do shopping on e-commerce sites or on your mobile phone. That’s what we’re trying to refine in these programmes.”

Mastercard currently offers the SecureCode system, which verifies the identities of customers while they shop online by prompting them to enter a password at the point of sale.

The credit card giant hopes that MasterCard Identity Check will help increase merchant retail sales by significantly decreasing the number of consumers who abandon their shopping cart without completing their purchase.

MasterCard Identity Check will be initially available to financial institutions across the U.S. by mid-2016, with a global roll-out to follow in 2017.

And while MasterCard believes that biometrics will become the new standard of online authentication in the future, the company would need to continue supporting legacy authentication technologies for a few more years, said Bhalla.

“I think it will take three to five years for passwords to die out,” said Bhalla. “Any new technology takes a little bit of time to go global, but in the developed world, because it’s so consumer-friendly, the take-up and the adoption rate will be much higher than you’ve seen in other technologies. The cost of new devices has really come down, and the penetration of the internet is very high. We support these technologies on all devices that will come, so consumers have a choice and they don’t need to rely on a particular device.”

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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.