MasterCard is experimenting with a feature called ID Check that confirms purchases via facial recognition or fingerprint scanning in their smartphone app, following a growing trend to replace traditional passwords with biometrics. An initial trail will be run with only 500 customers as MasterCard works out any bugs an issues ahead of the feature’s public release.
MasterCard has partnered with major mobile computing players including Google, Apple and Samsung to develop the technology for the mass market. The technology will also have to be approved by major banks, which are still in talks with MasterCard. Depending on your bank, you might get to use MasterCard’s biometric technology sooner than other cardholders.
After purchasing something using the MasterCard smartphone app, you’ll be prompted to confirm your transaction by scanning your fingerprint or displaying your face to the front camera. If you opt for the latter, the app will require you to blink once as an added layer of security to thwart thieves who might try to fool the system by holding up a picture of your face.
MasterCard doesn’t keep a photograph of your face or finger, instead your biometrics become a code that’s sent over to the company’s servers to confirm a transaction. Ajay Bhalla, MasterCard’s president for enterprise safety and security, assured CNN that the credit card company won’t be able to recreate your face from the data on their servers, ensuring your facial anonymity.
Bhalla predicts that people who like taking selfies will be happy to use facial recognition in lieu of a password. Additionally, he believes younger generations will adopt MasterCard’s proposed biometric technology without issue.