MasterCard Selfie Pay
The selfie. We've all seen them. We've all taken them — and we all recognize that selfies have very little practical value outside of sharing them on social media.
....that is until now!
Back in October 2016, MasterCard rolled out its new authentication step built entirely around the iconic selfie -- and it's aptly named Selfie Pay. Rather than rely on traditional signatures or PIN codes, this new biometric technology leverages facial recognition software to verify cardholders identities.
This selfie technology has already been introduced across 12 major markets in Europe. These markets include the UK, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden. It will be rolled out world-wide, including here in the United States, in multiple phases throughout 2017.
Selfies and the Rise of Biometric Authentication
MasterCard's selfie venture is only the most recent foray into biometric verification technologies. There already exist countless fingerprint scanning options used to unlock phones or initiate purchases. Apple's Apple Pay is one of the most popular — but certainly not the first.
There also exist numerous voice recognition solutions that allow users to shop online. Again, Apple's Siri is one of the most popular technologies around.
So why introduce a new biometric verification method? Does it really make sense to make space for selfies in today's payment industry?
That remains to be seen, but adding selfies to the mix offers an additional layer of protection. Used in isolation, facial recognition isn't terribly secure, but when combined with other authentication steps, the selfie will make it much harder for criminals to steal sensitive data.
That’s the whole point.
Providing cardholders with a random assortment of security features helps to make each individual a less likely target for thieves and hackers. It’s the same principle as having deadbolt locks AND a dog AND an alarm system all working in tandem to keep your home safe.
Whether or not MasterCard's Selfie Pay gamble pays off is still unclear. Though at a time when data breaches and credit card fraud are on the rise, consumers continue to demand new security features — even if this means embracing selfies.
According to MasterCard's studies, selfie authentication could pay off huge. Senior VP, Catherine Murchie, explains... “A recent MasterCard survey found that 83 percent of consumers are excited about new secure technologies helping to protect their financial information.”
Do You Need Selfie Authentication in Your Business?
Selfie authentication is a novel concept in many ways, but as a business owner, you don't have to necessarily rush to update your payment system. MasterCard's selfie project is still in its early stages. If it succeeds, most of the initial updates will come from credit card issuers, smartphone manufacturers and payment processors.
In other words, your business doesn't have to do anything right now.
However, this announcement highlights how quickly the credit card industry continues to evolve. It also illustrates the importance of regularly revisiting your payment infrastructure to ensure that it follows the latest security best practices.
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