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MasterCard Are Testing Their 'Selfie Pay' System

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Selfies are a lot of things, but they have never been practical (or even particularly useful). Every now and again a situation might come along where taking a picture of your own face might come in handy, but most of the time they're just a way for you to show off your new hat, or that it's sunny outside, or just about anything else going on that might make you pull a particular face. 

Facial recognition is something else entirely. It existed in science-fiction long before it was ever implemented in real life and even now it's still a shaky, uncertain technology that hasn't really found its feet yet. Regardless of this, MasterCard decided to combine the two in the form of 'Selfie Pay', and now it's being actively tested.

We've reported on it before, it essentially allows people to take pictures of themselves as proof of identity when buying something on their phone. Typically when making a purchase on your phone you just have to input your payment details as you would buying anything online. Your bank might throw up an extra security window asking for your account password or something, but that'll be it. That means that if your credit/debit card had been stolen and was still active, it wouldn't be overly difficult for the thief to use it to buy things via mobile.

With this new system, MasterCard have placed an extra security measure between the customer and the purchase, by asking them to snap a picture of themselves on the phone which is then matched up to a stored image of them that the company has on record. It's now moved into the trial phase, having been made available to 200 First Tech Federal Credit Union employees. They will use fake, temporary accounts to make virtual donations to the Children's Miracle Network hospitals, but no actual money will change hands. Another testing program is rolling out in the Netherlands, involving some 750 subjects, and with the rate things are moving, we could be seeing this in full effect very soon.

MasterCard are also playing around with fingerprint technology to a similar end. Biometrics is the umbrella term usually used to describe this kind of thing. It's been around for a while, but this is the first time it's been used in such a timely, on-trend way. It's nice to finally see a practical application for selfies, let's just hope it doesn't result in an outbreak of face-stealing.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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MasterCard Are Testing Their 'Selfie Pay' System Reviewed by Callum Davies on Monday, August 24, 2015 Rating: 5
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