Will selfies replace passwords for payment?

Will selfies replace passwords for payment?

Card payment company, MasterCard has stated that it will begin to accept selfies as alternative to passwords when authorising IDs for online payments in the future. The firm will also use fingerprint recognition in the same way.

The move comes following successful trials of the process in America and the Netherlands last year. So successful in fact that MasterCard told the BBC that 92% of test subjects actually preferred these biometric payments over manually entering passwords.

Experts have also predicted that selfie and fingerprint payments could potentially wipe out credit card fraud one day. Although, this has been met with criticisms, with some security researchers questioning how easy it could be to trick the system.

MasterCard explained that members of the public will simply need to download an app to their smartphone, tablet, or PC in order to begin processing payments this way. This technology is now officially rolling out, in the UK, US, Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.


How do selfie payments work?

When making purchases, users will still be asked for their payment card details, but if a two factor authentication process is required, then they will be asked to use the device’s camera to take a selfie, or use the fingerprint scanner. This is instead of the current system of having to type out selected numbers and letters from their passwords.

Interestingly, if validating their ID by a selfie, users will need to blink into the camera, to prove they are really there, and not just holding up a photograph.


Why has MasterCard brought in selfie payments?

Ajay Bhalla, chief of safety and security at MasterCard, says that passwords are not secure, people frequently use the same password across multiple websites, and we all know that the most commonly used password is 123456. The problem is that if one website gets hacked, then all the websites where you use the same password will get compromised. This is not ideal.

In this day and age, we all own mobile phones, and we all access the internet. It makes sense to introduce biometrics as an extra security level when authenticating ourselves.

There has long been a problem with online payments because there is no card present, and therefore a greater risk of fraud exists. This is why we typically pay surcharges for credit card payments. Introducing biometric payments makes a lot of sense because it is a more secure method than simply asking for a password. Hopefully this will reduce fraud and we can all benefit from lower prices for these transactions.