In what may be the first practical use for selfies in history, MasterCard will soon allow some of its customers to verify their purchases by taking a picture of their face, rather than entering a password. This is good news, because not only does everyone hate passwords, many people put their security at risk by being too lazy to remember a secure password, and coming up with something stupid, like “123456” or “password.” These “selfie payments” will only be available to users in the United Kingdom at first, but will expand to eleven other countries in Europe and North America this summer.
MasterCard will soon let customers in the UK make payments using a selfie. The technology – called MasterCard Identity Check – will allow customers to make purchases online by taking a selfie rather than entering a password. It is part of a new range of services designed to improve verification, that also include fingerprint scanning. MasterCard said that selfie pay will be available this summer in the UK and 11 other countries in North America and Europe. “Consumers hate passwords,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. “We know the most commonly used password is 123456, so they are not secure. People also use the same passwords for multiple sites – if one site gets hacked all the places that use the same password get compromised. They are a big pain.” Biometric authentication is one way to bypass the need for passwords. To use MasterCard’s new system, customers will be asked to download an app on mobile and desktop. They will still need to provide credit card details, but can look at the phone’s camera or use the fingerprint sensor instead of entering a password.