MasterCard is experimenting with a smartphone app which allows people to confirm their identity and authenticate online transactions via a facial scan. Users will have to download the MasterCard phone app and at checkout they will be asked to hold up their phone to stare and blink at it.
“The new generation, which is into selfies…I think they’ll find it cool. They’ll embrace it,” said Ajay Bhalla, security expert at the American financial services company MasterCard.
Currently, users can set up something called “SecureCode,” which requires a password when shopping online.
However, passwords can be forgotten, stolen, or intercepted.
MasterCard is launching a small pilot programme involving 500 people that uses fingerprints – but also facial scans to verify online transactions, ‘CNN Money’ reported.
MasterCard said it has partnered with every smartphone maker to make this method of verification possible.
MasterCard said a pop-up will ask for authorisation after people buy something. They can choose fingerprint or facial recognition. Users who choose facial recognition have to stare at the phone and blink once.
MasterCard’s security researchers believe blinking is the best way to prevent a thief from just holding up a picture of a person and fooling the system.
MasterCard said it does not actually get a picture of the user’s finger or face. All fingerprint scans will create a code that stays on the device.
The facial recognition scan will map out a user’s face, convert it to 1s and 0s and transmit that over the internet to MasterCard.
Bhalla said MasterCard is also experimenting with voice recognition, so people may be able to simply approve an online transaction by speaking to their phone.
MasterCard is also working with a Canadian firm, Nymi, to develop technology that will approve transactions by recognising a person’s unique heartbeat.