MasterCard introduced Identity Check Mobile, a solution using biometric authentication options like fingerprints or facial recognition to verify a cardholder’s identity for payments.
The credit card giant is initially rolling out Identity Check Mobile in 12 European markets, including the U.K., Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.
MasterCard said it is planning a broader worldwide rollout of the Identity Check Mobile technology throughout 2017.
Identity Check Mobile is meant to eliminate password-based authentication, which also often takes shoppers away from a retailer’s website or mobile app to be verified, contributing to cart abandonment or transaction problems if they enter their password incorrectly. MasterCard customers instead use a smartphone fingerprint scanner, or take a selfie to enable verification by facial recognition.
MasterCard first announced the development of Identity Check Mobile almost exactly one year ago. The initial launch markets might strike some as surprising, given that MasterCard is first targeting Europe, instead of North America, although the release follows a series of biometric tests MasterCard completed in the Netherlands as well as the U.S. and Canada over the last year.
MasterCard said those trials and research suggest that European consumers prefer biometric payments autheentication to current password systems, although we can't think of anyone anywhere in the world who is especially fond of passwords. In any case, it sounds like other countries will get the new capabilities soon enough — as in sometime next year.
As the transition to more secure EMV chip-based payment cards and terminals progresses in the brick-and-mortar world, there is growing concern that e-commerce transaction security is still lacking. Identity Check Mobile can help in cases where these transactions occur via mobile. Biometrics is not new to the payments world, but it is where payment security and authentication is heading sooner rather than later.