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Mastercard introduces facial recognition mobile payments in Europe


Mastercard has introduced a new fingerprint and facial recognition-based payment technology in Europe to verify the identity of the cardholder, according to a report by InternetRetailing.net.

The Check Mobile application is currently available in 12 European markets, including the UK, following trials in the Netherlands, the US and Canada. Mastercard said it will expand the roll-out across the global next year.

The credit card giant says other identity verification systems take consumers away from a retailer’s website or mobile app.

Users are then prompted to enter a password, which if entered incorrectly can result in their transaction being declined.

Alternatively, Mastercard Identity Check Mobile allows cardholders to verify themselves by using their smartphone’s built-in fingerprint scanner, or by taking a selfie, which is then verified through facial recognition technology.

“We are relentlessly focused on making the online payment experience near frictionless, without making any compromises on safety and security,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of Mastercard’s enterprise risk and security division. “This is a significant milestone in the evolution of payments. Shopping in person has been revolutionized thanks to advances like contactless cards, mobile payments and wearables, and now we are making Identity Check Mobile a reality for online shopping in Europe, and soon, the world.”

It remains to be seen whether the technology will succeed. According to John Rakowski, director of technology strategy at AppDynamics, Mastercard Identity Check Mobile’s adoption “will depend greatly on user experience.”

“In order to win over users, Mastercard’s app needs to run invisibly and be ready to anticipate behaviour based on contextual data, such as the tilt of the phone,” Rakowski said. “The technology will only catch on if customers feel comfortable enough to use the app, it feels intuitive and meets performance expectations.

“For Mastercard’s tech team, what the customer does before and after the payment is as important as the transaction itself. For example, if biometric fingerprint technology is used in conjunction with the selfie across a quick succession of bill payments, performance issues might arise. When an app packs in during the middle of a transaction, the customer is often left in the dark, and won’t know if the payment has gone through, causing more issues than the new feature sets out to solve.”

Mastercard has posted a video demonstrating how its Check Mobile application works.

Last month, MasterCard announced it would expand its use of facial and fingerprint recognition with Identity Check authentication software in an attempt to prevent online fraud.

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