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‘Selfie pay’ promises more secure online payments

It has been dubbed ‘selfie pay’ and MasterCard believes its new product, Identity Check, will make online payments more secure and user-friendly than passwords.

MasterCard Identity Check is designed to verify a shopper’s identity, in part by using biometric elements to enable online payments.

Garry Duursma, head of market development and innovation for MasterCard Australasia, said Identity Check is an evolution of MasterCard’s existing product offering in this field, 3D Secure, which prompts consumers to confirm their identities when making online purchases via security questions or entering a temporary SMS code.

Trials of Identity Check are underway in the Netherlands, which is a similar chip and pin marketplace to Australia, and the US. The outcome of those trials will determine when the technology will be introduced to the Australian marketplace.

MasterCard has high expectations for Identity Check thanks to the ubiquity and popularity of the selfie.

“As as industry, we have always struggled to get people interested in looking after their security, quite frankly,” Duursma said.

Duursma believes Identity Check will make online payments fun and will be intuitive to use.

“Perhaps for the first time, consumers will be reaching out and wanting to register for this kind of authorisation because it is far more interesting and far more fun than anything that has come before it. And that equals better security in the marketplace,” Duursma said.

When making an online purchase, selfie pay comes into play at the final step to verify the shopper’s identity. The camera is activated on their device and, just like taking a selfie, consumers allow the camera to recognise their face. But instead of pressing the shutter button they blink to prove they are a real person and not a static image.

Other forms of biometrics, such as fingerprint and voice testing, could be used. However MasterCard thinks selfie pay will be the biggest drawcard for consumers.

MasterCard said it is working to reduce friction caused by online payments, which lead to shoppers abandoning purchases due to password or authorisation issues. According to MasterCard’s research, one in three Australians have abandoned a purchase as a result of forgetting their password.

Advances in payment methods means that in the not too distant future online retailers will be able to enjoy to same level of security around their transactions as a physical retailers enjoys with a chip card transaction in stores, Duursma said.

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