MasterCard's Selfie Payment App Seriously Can't Come Fast Enough
And so the march of exciting new consumer technology continues. In a year that's already seen the broadening of Apple Pay, forever changing the way many people pay for their goods, there are now reports that a major credit card company is getting in on the act with some new ideas of their own, and it sounds pretty cool. As detailed by CNN Money, MasterCard's planning an app for selfie and fingerprint-based payments, which could birth a whole new online shopping phenomenon — checkout chic, perhaps?
In reality, it's not quite as hip as it might sound, but there's no denying that it would be a huge step forward — much of the basic technology behind credit cards, after all, is decades-old. MasterCard made a big leap forward last year, when they introduced contactless payments at some retailers.
The app is a ways off, described as being in the prototype stage, but here's the basic idea: you want to pay for something, so you hold up your phone, look into the camera, and blink. The blink is a simple, clever security feature, which prevents any potential fraudsters from gaming the system with a photo of you. It also allows you to confirm transactions with a fingerprint scan, as well — if it weren't obvious, you'd need a finger-scanning mobile device like an iPhone 6 to accomplish this.
In the above video, MasterCard Chief Product Security Officer Ajay Bhalla explains the whole idea, simple as it is.
Passwords are a pain. They're a real problem, people forget it, people write it at places, and they get very surprised when a hacker gets into a particular website and knows the passwords to all their accounts. When consumers shop on the internet, their banks need ways to verify their identity.
According to CNET, the image of your face isn't actually sent anywhere, so in all seriousness, you won't be seeing albums full of people grinning after they've bought their plane tickets to some faraway land. Rather, the selfie gets converted into code, which is then sent along to MasterCard as verification of your identity — pretty cool, I must say.
Obviously, this would only work for online shopping, at least that's all that's been revealed so far. If you want to make a purchase, let's say from Amazon, the site sends a notification to your phone which allows you to use the face-scan or fingerprint system. It's expected to roll out at some point next year, according to WFSB Hartford. And, speaking frankly, I don't think it can come fast enough — all told, I've probably typed out my credit card information enough times in my life to make my fingers ache.