Amazon files patent for facial authentication payment technology

March 15, 2016 - 

Amazon has filed a new patent application titled “Image Analysis for User Authentication”, which reveals the eCommerce giant’s plans to launch a payment option that will allow consumers to authenticate purchases with a photo or video of themselves to make a payment, according to a report by PYMNTS.com.

Although Amazon previously filed a patent to authenticate an account using this technology, the process did not include payments.

“The entry of these passwords … can require the user to turn away from friends or co-workers when entering a password, which can be awkward or embarrassing in many situations,” according to the patent application.

Amazon, which has yet to make an official comment regarding the patent, specifies in the application that users can perform the transaction through a smartphone or computer and “can prompt the user to perform certain actions, motions, or gestures, such as to smile, blink, or tilt his or her head.”

The built-in security feature prevents the chance of a hacker falsely authenticating a purchase using a photo of the account holder.

Both Alibaba and Mastercard have been developing similar facial recognition based authentication payment technologies.

Following successful pilot programs in the U.S. and the Netherlands, MasterCard plans to roll out its new payment verification platform this summer in the UK, US, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

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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.