Mastercard reveals 'selfie' biometric payments pilots in the US, Netherlands
19 August 2015 12:09 GMT

MasterCard plans to launch pilots with US and Dutch banks that will see transactions authenticated using facial recognition and fingerprint biometrics.

Under a programme with the Netherlands' ABN Amro, some 750 users will be able to download an app which will open a fingerprint or picture window when the trialist enters a web store checkout.

Arjan Bol, country manager at Mastercard Netherlands, said the test will prove that biometric methods improve the speed and safety of online payments. "What is easier and more fun," he asks, "than paying through a selfie or fingerprint?"

First Tech Federal Credit Union today announced a pilot program withMasterCard that will enable First Tech employees to authenticate and verify transactions using facial recognition and fingerprint biometrics.

Dubbed “Selfie Pay,” by industry observers, this initial test will be conducted in a closed environment where First Tech employees will use artificial funds and biometrics. The pilot will test the potential of delivering greater security and convenience to First Tech’s US cardholders by verifying identity via facial photographs or fingerprint scans conducted on smartphones.

“At First Tech, we’re establishing a strong track record for bringing the most secure and forward-looking payments security to our members, first with our introduction this year of chip-and-PIN debit and credit cards. In that spirit, this biometrics pilot program represents an exciting next step in payment convenience and security,” said Greg Mitchell, CEO of First Tech Federal Credit Union. “Our members are some of the most technologically focused consumers on the planet, and being an innovator in the payments security space is evidence of our strong desire to meet our members’ unique needs.”

The pilot program will run in September and October and include over 200 credit union employees. Pilot participants will use smartphone apps to make virtual donations to the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals, all authenticated by facial recognition or fingerprint biometrics.

“A recent MasterCard survey found that 83 percent of consumers are excited about new secure technologies helping to protect their financial information. In the same survey, three-fourths (75 percent) of consumers stated that they have heard of biometric payments,” said Catherine Murchie, Senior Vice President of U.S. Processing, Network & Enterprise Security Solutions for MasterCard. “We’re excited to be on the cutting edge of exploring biometrics and engaged in the first US pilot with First Tech Federal Credit Union.”

First Tech and MasterCard introduced the concept for this biometrics pilot program at the White House Cyber Security Summit held at Stanford University in California on February 9.

The pilot program builds on existing activities by MasterCard and CardinalCommerce to power First Tech Federal Credit Union’s cardholder verification processes.

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