Customers either can't remember (or be bothered to remember) all their passwords or use "password" as their actual passwords.

MasterCard is piloting a new project that does away with both of those problems customers may have by incorporating a new way to pay with their credit cards.

MasterCard Identity Check is the credit card company's play into the new digital landscape of shopping online. Basically, beyond the fancy name, it's customers taking selfies via their smartphones through Mastercard's app to make their purchases.

"As the world gets increasingly digital, this will be the next wave of technology that will change the consumer experience of shopping digitally," said Ajay Bhalla, MasterCard's president of enterprise security solutions. "It's all part of our role in making commerce available anywhere, anytime, on any digital device."

With the advent of new payment innovations coming from Apple's Apple Pay, Google's Android Pay, and even PayPal's fingerprint payment tie-up with Samsung, MasterCard needs to be available anywhere, anytime, and on any digital device. This should no doubt be an easier sell to millennials where 84% of them in a poll made purchases and performed other financial transactions with their smartphones.

Millennial or not, in a global survey commissioned by MasterCard, it was found that out of 10,000 consumers, one-third of them gave up on an online purchase because they couldn't recall their password. MasterCard's "selfie pay" makes passwords, PINs, and signatures obsolete.

To make purchases with MasterCard's selfie payment option, customers must first download the company's Identity Check app. When a customer finds a product they want to buy and the merchant requires that their identity be verified before checking out their cart, the customer's smartphone will receive a notification on their smartphone which will then open up the app. In the app, the customer would do what they normally when taking a selfie - hold up their phone and take a pic.

In MasterCard's Identity Check app, however, the user will have to blink. Blinking is important because it's actually used as a security mechanism that prevents a would-be criminal from just holding up another person's picture. After the selfie is taken, a facial recognition scan then converts the user's face into a string of ones and zeroes. If it passes, the user's transaction pushes through and a purchase is made. "It's a seamless, smooth experience," says MasterCard.

Photo: Håkan Dahlström | Flickr

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