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MasterCard Testing New App That Lets You Make Payments With Selfie: Say Cheese!

5 July 2015, 8:08 am EDT By Quinten Plummer Tech Times
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MasterCard wants people to pay for things by taking selfies. Along with the new facial recognition software, MasterCard's app will also be updated to offer fingerprint scanning.  ( MasterCard )

Chalk another win up for the selfie crowd. MasterCard is sanctioning the art of the self-shot portrait and has been working on a system to let people pay for goods and services by taking selfies.

Expected to launch next year, MasterCard's new biometrics software, which is being integrated into the MasterCard app, will give consumers the option to purchase things by either offering up their faces or fingers for authentication.

Ajay Bhalla, a security expert at MasterCard, introduced the new software during an interview with CNN.

"When consumers shop on the Internet, their banks need ways to verify their identities," said Bhalla. "So this particular product seamlessly integrates biometrics into the overall payments experience."

The app's fingerprint scanner converts prints into code, which is stored on the mobile device. Its facial recognition software, however, is a bit more trendy right now.

"The new generation, which is into selfies, I think they'll find it cool—they'll embrace it," said Bhalla.

The app's facial recognition software requires that an individual blinks, like a contented kitty, to prove that he or she isn't just some image of himself or herself. Without this measure, cyber gangsters and petty thieves could easily hold up an image of someone else.

MasterCard's technique isn't exactly new, Ken Munro, cyber security researcher at Pen Test Partners, pointed out. Google has toyed with facial recognition software and even the blink approach has been undermined.

"People took photographs and animated them, drawing eyelids on," said Munro. "There have been advances in biometrics since then, but they're not quite there yet."

MasterCard is starting off the rollout of its new biometrics software by delivering it to a test group of about 500 individuals. The company hopes for a broad launch of the software after it has squashed the bugs and streamlined the experience.

It really is coming. MasterCard partnered with the top makers of mobile devices and mobile operating systems to ensure that it does go mainstream. These include Google, Apple, BlackBerry, Samsung, Microsoft and several banks.

Check out a snippet of CNN's interview with MasterCard's Bhalla:

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