MasterCard is developing a feature where “selfie” photos will serve as its credit card authentication.
The service, dubbed “MasterCard Identity Check,” requires the user to upload an initial selfie photo, which will be compared and verified with another selfie at the time of purchase.
MasterCard's selfie authentication, first reported by Fast Company, is being tested at Silicon Valley’s First Tech Federal Credit Union, among other institutions, and will see a wider roll-out in the U.S. in the middle of next year and the rest of the world in 2017.
Biometrics from Visa, now selfies from MasterCard. The credit-card companies whose names make up “Europay, MasterCard, Visa” or EMV, seem to be working hard to add state-of-the-art authentication rituals to the new EMV cards, which are rolling out now.
In the meantime, though, while those systems remain in the experimental phase, the new chip-embedded cards in the U.S. are less secure than the chip-plus-PIN cards used in most of the rest of the world, retailers say.
Retailers have been pushing for the added security layer of using a PIN, or personal identification number, but banks in the U.S. have been reluctant to change their processes to filter PINs, and say that the extra step would be inconvenient for consumers.
Taking a selfie seems less convenient than a PIN, which many (if not most) people already use at ATMS and to unlock their own cell phones.
In any case, it’s a technology that’s not ready for prime time, experts have told Retail Dive, while PINs are a known, and proven, authentication method.
Mark Horwedel, CEO of Merchant Advisory Group, whose members are larger retailers, told reporters ahead of the EMV deadline that banks and MasterCard and Visa are leaving consumers vulnerable by not including PIN in the EMV payment process.
“That could be better than PIN, but there’s no timeline for that. It’s still in the development phase,” Horwedel told reporters. “It’ll be quite some time till we find a means besides PIN that will gain approval and acceptance.”