MasterCard Experiment Asks Customers to Use Selfies to Protect, Verify Their Identities

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Since the art and science of photography was first invented nearly 186 years ago, it’s estimated that over 3.5 trillion photos have been taken. While the majority of these photographs were used to create and visually preserve memories, some were also used snapped to establish or verify one’s identity, which is exactly what MasterCard will soon be doing.

The multinational financial services incorporation is taking the meaning — and purpose — of a selfie to a whole new level. Starting this fall, MasterCard will begin experimenting with a new, cutting edge program that combines the fun of taking a selfie with the peace of mind of knowing your identity is safe.

Instead of memorizing and using a password to make secure purchases, MasterCard customers will simply have to snap a selfie for their online purchases to be approved. At checkout, customers will be asked to hold up their phone and snap a photo of themselves in order to verify their identity. From there, MasterCard’s software will scan and process the image using facial recognition technology.

At checkout, customers will be asked to hold up their phone and snap a photo of themselves in order to verify their identity. From there, MasterCard's software will scan and process the image using facial recognition technology.
At checkout, customers will be asked to hold up their phone and snap a photo of themselves in order to verify their identity. From there, MasterCard’s software will scan and process the image using facial recognition technology.

Currently, customers are able to set up an identity protection measure called “SecureCode,” which requires the input of a password for online purchases. This helps to prevent hackers who steal credit card numbers from actually being able to use them online. According to MasterCard, SecureCode was used in 3 billion transactions last year.

Despite these security measures, it’s still common for passwords to become forgotten, or worse, stolen. As such, many banks and financial institutions have followed Apple’s lead by implementing a fingerprint scanner. In 2013, the iPhone’s fingerprint recognition scanner started a security revolution of sorts. Apple Pay proved that customers are more than willing to use biometrics to prove and secure their identity.

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