MasterCard Plans to Use Selfies to Authenticate Online Transactions

Protecting customers from fake online transactions has always been a challenging task for the company’s security division, which has forced a popular credit card company to adopt some innovative ways to verify online purchases and to cut down fraud.

MasterCard, one of the most popular financial company, while experimenting with the biometric technology, has developed a new mobile app that will ask you to take your own picture during the checkout process to approve online purchases, which seems to make the whole buying process a lot easier than remembering a passcode.

According to Ajay Bhalla, President of MasterCard’s Enterprise Security and Innovative Solutions:

“The new generation, which is into selfies … I think they’ll find it cool. They’ll embrace it,”

At the moment, the company is experimenting with a security feature called “SecureCode”, which requires the user to enter a password to complete the online purchase. This step was taken to stop credit card credentials stealers from using your card on the Internet. And according to MasterCard, this feature has been used in 3 billion transactions last year.

But the passwords can get caught, stolen or even forgotten. So MasterCard has planned to begin testing their new experimental app, featuring fingerprint and facial recognition technology, from the start of this fall to decide whether the new system is practical or not. But the experiment will be limited to 500 customers, and once it passes all the bends and curves, MasterCard will launch it publicly.

We have previously seen that biometric technology has already been adopted by numerous mobile manufacturing companies, but the struggle to invent a transparent and foolproof system haven’t been matched by the result’s effectiveness ratio.

Most of the mobile phones running Android mobile operating system do have a functionality to unlock device using facial recognition feature, while Apple has implemented TouchID feature on their new iPhone devices which allow users to unlock their phone using their fingerprints.

Nevertheless, both of these state-of-the-art features proved to be ineffective under various practical situations which require the user to attempt several times. In addition to that, Apple’s fingerprint recognition technology has also been hacked numerous times which proves that it is possible to reproduce the fingerprints, either by using high-resolution pictures of fingerprint or by gathering them from glossy surface.

According to the report published on CNN Money, MasterCard has partnered with all the smartphone manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft, and BlackBerry. Apart from this, the company is still concluding deals with two key banks, so at the moment they don’t know whose customers will be able to get their hands onto this new feature.

Working of MasterCard Mobile App:

The user is required to download the MasterCard mobile app to use this new feature. The app is supposed to “pop-up” whenever a payment needs to be made, and will ask for the option of authorization i.e. either via facial recognition or fingerprint.

If you select fingerprint option then all you have to do is to touch. Else, if you select facial recognition option then the app will ask you to stare at the mobile phone’s camera, blink once, and then the transaction will get verified.

The developers has added a “blink once” feature to protect the customer and prevent robbers from fooling the system by holding up a picture of a person.

Mr. Bhalla said in a report that the company never get a picture of the user’s fingerprint or face. Every fingerprint scans will be converted into a code that remains on the user’s mobile device. Whereas the data of facial recognition scans will be converted into binary and transmitted to MasterCard servers, over the Internet using a secure connection.

Bhalla assured that the company won’t be able to reconstruct the client’s face, and the information will remain secure on the company’s servers. However, this act do make some cybersecurity specialists uncomfortable because no one wants their personal data to be transmitted.

According to Robert M. Lee, co-founder of Dragos Security:

“I understand why they’d want that data, but no, I do not like it, From a privacy aspect it’s awful — but from a business perspective, I don’t understand why they’d accept that risk.”

Apart from all that, Bhalla further added that MasterCard is also experimenting with voice recognition technology, so the users will be able to approve an online transaction by simply speaking to their smartphone.

MasterCard is not the only company to come up with such ideas. In Fabuarary, Visa announced that it will track users’ smartphones location to “prevent” credit card fraud.



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