Mastercard has announced the rollout of its biometric authentication app in Europe, following successful trials in the US, Canada, and the Netherlands. First introduced at the Mobile World Congress tech show in February, Mastercard selfie pay allows users to confirm payments with their face.
The app was launched in 12 countries, including Austria, the UK, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden. Mastercard plans to make the feature available to its customers worldwide next year.
The company expects the technology will help to increase the volume of purchases and enhance security of payments. With Mastercard selfie pay, users won’t be required to enter their password or pin, which can be lost or stolen. Besides, it is likely to simplify online payments, as on average people have to enter passwords for different accounts a few times a day.
“We are relentlessly focused on making the online payment experience near frictionless, without making any compromises on safety and security,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of Enterprise Risk & Security at Mastercard.
“This is a significant milestone in the evolution of payments. Shopping in person has been revolutionised thanks to advances like contactless cards, mobile payments and wearables, and now we are making Identity Check Mobile a reality for online shopping in Europe, and soon, the world.”
To use Mastercard selfie pay, you have to download the app and take a photo, which then be stored on the company’s servers and used when you want to complete a transaction. In order to avoid the possibility of fraud, the service will ask you to blink before completing the payment.
Earlier this year, Mastercard launched the first worldwide pilot together with International Card Services (ICS) and found out that 9 out of 10 participants prefer payments with biometric identification instead of using a password. About 75% of users are convinced that biometric payments will reduce the risk of fraud.
Authentication of payments via biometrics has been in use since the launch of Apple Pay fingerprint recognition feature for iPhones and the Apple Watch. Apple Pay is currently the leading app within the contactless payment market. This July, the company’s CEO Tim Cook unveiled that the number of monthly users rose more than 450% from the previous year.
Last month, Mastercard partnered with an e-commerce payments provider Stripe to enable marketplaces send instant payouts to sellers. Businesses will be able to send money to customers via Mastercard Send, a personal payments platform allowing people to quickly transfer funds.