For MasterCard Users, Selfies Are the New Passwords

'Consumers hate passwords'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2016 3:00 PM CST
For MasterCard Users, Selfies Are the New Passwords
Arnold Schwarzenegger, possibly using a selfie to verify his identity while buying a cool new polo shirt for Steve Ballmer.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

We're all taking selfies all the time anyway, so we might as well put them to good use. The Verge reports MasterCard is rolling out "selfie pay" in 14 countries. If additional authentication is needed after online shoppers enter their credit card info, MasterCard users will be able to look into their phone or tablet's camera instead of entering a password, the BBC explains. "Consumers hate passwords," says Ajay Bhalla, MasterCard's chief of safety and security. He says people use terrible, easily hackable passwords. Biometrics, such as facial recognition and the also-debuting fingerprint authentication, could reduce fraud for online shoppers.

MasterCard tested out "selfie pay" in the US and Netherlands and found 92% of test subjects liked it. CNBC reports it could make online shopping easier, as MasterCard found 53% of people forget their password at least once a week, leading a third of online shoppers to just give up on buying anything. The next step for MasterCard is using people's heartbeats to verify their identity. People's hearts create their own signature electric signal, and MaserCard is testing out a bracelet that monitors it continuously and sends that information to nearby devices to authenticate the user. Bhalla calls it "constant authentication." But that's still a ways off. MasterCard's facial recognition and fingerprint authentication will be rolled out this year. (More selfie stories.)

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