MasterCard wants to replace passwords with selfies

Say cheese at the checkout

MasterCard is looking to the future of online payments security. The credit card company is experimenting with a mobile app that uses facial recognition to verify your identity. Wave buh-bye to passwords; soon all it might take is a good ol’ selfie to buy your weekly shopping.

Shopaholics and selfie-snappers; this might not bode well for your bank account. MasterCard wants selfies to replace passwords, allowing people to pay for things by providing a scan of their face.

It would work like this. You download the app and proceed to the checkout section of the shopping website. The service is then launched where you can choose facial recognition to complete the payment. You simply look into the front-facing camera and blink once to authorise it - the blink prevents thieves from showing the app a picture of your face in an attempt to fool it.

Alternatively, the app will also be able to read your fingerprint, just in case you’re not comfortable in using selfies to confirm hefty shopping trips. MasterCard, though, reckons those who like to take selfies will find the new system appealing.

"The new generation, which is into selfies… I think they'll find it cool," MasterCard security boss Ajay Bhalla told CNN. "They'll embrace it."

To start off with, MasterCard is launching a small pilot with 500 customers to see how it goes. If the technology works and proves a hit with the public, then the app will be rolled out further. We don't know about you, but we're not sure. Google tried facial recognition on Android phones and there were a lot of problems in the early days, so it will be interesting to see what's changed.

There’s no release date, but we’ll update if we hear more. In the meantime, watch the video below featuring MasterCard’s Ajay Bhalla explain how the app works. Let us know your thoughts in the comments or at the T3 Facebook page.