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Zipcar adds biometric authentication for membership approval via mobile app


Zipcar announced that new members who join the car sharing network through its mobile app will be verified using facial recognition technology by matching their valid driver’s license with a “selfie” to authenticate the application.

The near-instant membership approval process will enable the member to unlock a vehicle in minutes using only their smartphone.

“At Zipcar, we know that consumers decide to join our service for a variety of reasons. Often it is thoroughly planned, but other times members want access instantly when they hit an unexpected need – like having to buy large furniture without a car or to get somewhere that transit doesn’t reach,” said Zipcar Vice President of Marketing Andrew Daley. “The ability to join and drive right through one’s phone in a matter of minutes furthers our goal of providing members with access to simple and convenient mobility.”

Members who join through the app will now be able use their mobile device to unlock and lock a Zipcar, eliminating the need to wait for an RFID-enabled Zipcard to arrive in the mail or pick it up at a local Zipcar office. The company says it will continue to support Zipcards for the foreseeable future.

New members who join through Zipcar’s mobile app will be prompted to take a photo of their valid license as well as a “selfie” to authenticate the application. The facial recognition software requires users to blink while taking a photo of themselves to ensure that Zipcar is matching the license to its owner. Once a member has been approved, he or she can instantly reserve any of Zipcar’s 12,000-plus vehicles in more than 500 cities and towns around the globe.

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