MasterCard Developing Biometrics for Online Purchases

This fall, MasterCard will start experimenting with a new procedure to approve online purchases with a facial scan.

NEW YORK – MasterCard is pushing further into its exploration of biometric authentication with a new system that will confirm online purchases with facial and fingerprint scans, according CNN Money. The company is starting the system as a pilot project involving 500 customers.

Here’s how it’s going to work: When a user makes an online purchase, the MasterCard mobile app will prompt that user with a message asking for transaction confirmation; then the user can either scan their fingerprint, or scan their face with a deliberate blink for liveness detection. MasterCard says it has teamed up with every major smartphone maker to develop this system, and it’s currently in the last phases of negotiations with major banks.

All biometric scans are converted into algorithms, and those are stored on the user’s device and also transmitted to MasterCard’s servers. Speaking to CNN about this process, security experts had mixed feelings, with a co-founder of Dragos Security suggesting that it’s both risky and invasive to the user, and Nok Nok Labs CEO Philip Dunkelberger expressing confidence that the algorithms can be protected with the right measures.

The system’s development is being led by MasterCard’s Ajay Bhalla, who has previously spoken of the growing importance of biometric security at this year’s Risk to Reward conference in London.

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