MasterCard Set for Global ‘Pay-by-Selfie’ Launch

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Credit card giant MasterCard is set to extend its ‘pay-by-selfie’ facial recognition technology to 14 countries including the UK this summer as part of its ongoing attempt to crack down on identity fraud.

The firm told the FT that the decision was made after trials of the system in the US and the Netherlands went well.

It means that UK customers will soon be able to complete their online purchases simply by taking a photo of themselves via their smartphone.

The idea is that, like other biometric authentication systems, it will reduce the risk of identity fraud because it doesn’t rely on the user inputting passwords or other credentials which can be phished and reused by scammers.

The card giant is also said to be trialing iris and voice recognition technology, as well as a system which authenticates by measuring the user’s heartbeat via a connected bracelet device.

Paco Garcia, CTO at UK start-up Yoti, welcomed the news from MasterCard.

“By offering an alternative to the hassle of remembering passwords and usernames, they are making their customers’ lives easier and more secure,” he argued.

“The key challenge for any of the selfie authentication solutions we are seeing emerge at the moment is ensuring the right live person is in front of their phone.”

Intel Security CTO, Raj Samani, also welcomed the news.

“In today’s technology driven world, it’s about time passwords caught up and evolved with it, because the reality is there have been many developments in the security industry that don’t rely on consumer memory to keep information secure anymore – one being biometric security,” he argued.

It’s thought the new service will be particularly for younger customers, who are used to taking selfies with their phones.

According to Get Safe Online, the top 10 internet fraud campaigns between September 2014 and August 2015 cost the UK over £268 million.

The average sum stolen was £738 per person, it claimed.

Meanwhile, the Office of National Statistics estimated 5.1 million cases of fraud in the UK over the past year, although this also includes offline incidents.

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