Selfies are more than a passing trend, and soon you’ll be able to use them for more than just advertising your face. During the latest Mobile World Congress, one of the biggest payments processors in the world, MasterCard, announced its plans to introduce “selfie pay” later in the year.
This feature allows its cardholders to use an image of their face to verify their identity when making payments online. In order to do this, MasterCard users will have to download the app to their iOS or Android device. You’ll still be required to provide your credit card details in order to make purchases, but if any additional authentication is required, you can just hold your device up to your face and take a selfie.
What if someone takes your photo and try to authenticate this way? Well, the company thought of that as well, and the users will have to blink to prove they’re not using a static photo. The app also has algorithms that can detect if someone is using a pre-recorded video.
MasterCards is planning on rolling out “selfie pay” in several countries including the United States, Canada, the U.K. and certain parts of Europe. They decided to move forward with this feature after 92% of its test subjects said that they would prefer this system to passwords. “I think the whole biometric space is a great way of protecting yourself when you are doing payments,” said Ann Cairns, head of international markets for MasterCard, in an interview with CNBC. “There are a whole range of biometrics that say ‘I’m me, I’m making a payment’ and it just makes the whole thing more secure.”
While MasterCard’s idea is definitely very interesting, quite a few experts warn that even biometric authentication measures like facial recognition aren’t foolproof, and privacy remains a concern.