MasterCard “selfie pay” system is letting users authorize payments with a quick portrait pic

There’s no shortage of ways to authenticate yourself to a smartphone: PIN, pattern, password, fingerprint, trusted device … the list goes on and on. What sounds like one of the most straightforward – but in practice has proven enormously difficult to get right – is an image-based unlock: after all, our phones have cameras, so why can’t they just take a pic and recognize us? We’ve come a long way from Android’s old face unlock in Ice Cream Sandwich, and more robust systems like Windows Hello and its iris scanning have arrived to give us new hope. Apparently, the tech has come so far that it’s now being relied on to even authorize payments, and this week we hear about MasterCard’s plans to roll out its “selfie pay” system to a number of new nations.

As that label implies, MasterCard allows users to authorize online payments by means of a facial scan conducted by their smartphone. The system generates an algorithmic map of the users face, rather than directly storing a photo, and compares that to a previously authenticated hash value.

Following initial tests in the US and the Netherlands, MasterCard is looking to bring the system to 14 more nations by sometime this summer.

Beyond this facial-ID tech, MasterCard has been experimenting with other authentication schemes, including one that could gather biometric data from a heart rate monitor – but there’s no word on when anything like that may be ready for prime time.

Source: The Financial Times
Via: Engadget

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!